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The Power of Memory

With my Uncle Don passing away this week, my mom lost both her brothers within a span of a few months.  Sadly, her dementia makes it impossible for me to relate to her what has taken place.

However, just a few weeks ago, Don and Mom spoke on the phone ever so briefly.  I saw in my Mom’s brightening eyes and emotional voice the signs she knew it was her brother on the line.

The videos below, one of an old trainer visiting his elephant after fifteen years of separation, and the other of an Alzheimer patient having a moment of recognition of her daughter lying beside her, capture the power of memories.

These events remind us of the importance of such things as lifelong bonds of love, of continuing to love the forgetful and wayward, and of the hope in calling people to remember the gospel that they so long ago seem to have forgotten.  “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

 

The Children Are Always Included

Where do our children stand with respect to God’s covenant? How should we treat them as Christian parents? Why do we baptize infants? Those questions fill the mind of parents. They were never more on our mind this summer than as we drove to participate in extended family gatherings on both sides of our family.

In that drive time, we listened to Ted Donnelly’s six sermon series on infant baptism. He is a now-retired pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland. Though the sermons were preached nine years ago, the timeless truth of God’s word is preached from a grandfatherly man who not only knows the Scripture but who has experienced the blessing of it in the various stages of life, too. In this series, he handles not only the technical aspects of baptism, but each message is drenched with pastoral love and tenderness.

“I Think I May Be Gay”

If you are reading this post and the title describes you, let me begin by saying that you are not the first person who has wondered about this issue.  You probably are being a bit discreet, reading this privately to see what it says.  Many people in this generation are asking the same question about whether they are gay or not.  Though you are most likely reading this alone, you are not alone in the thoughts you are having.

Since you are thinking about this matter, and I imagine you have been considering it for some time now, please let me ask you to consider three further questions this issue should raise in your mind.

How is your sexual self-identity determined?

Wondering about or even calling yourself gay is not just a  matter of sexual activity, but of identity.  Those who refer to themselves as gay see it as a lifestyle.   Many gay people describe their experience as a journey of self-discovery, as they come to a point in their lives where they realize they are attracted to the same sex.  Perhaps you believe that you have arrived at this  very juncture  in your own life.

Yet have you given serious thought to how […]

Browse Worthy: Gender Identification

It is amazing how quickly the gay rights battle is morphing into a transsexual one.  As men and women harden their hearts more and more against the Creator whose image they bear, they rebel against everything, even their own gender. When Times magazine features on its cover a picture of a man in a dress with the caption “The Transgender Tipping Point,” and Rush Limbaugh is speaking favorably with transsexuals, you realize you cannot avoid discussing an issue that in your parents’ day would have never been mentioned publicly.  As a pastor, I had to speak to those involved in gender confusion in my counseling office.

In these confusing times, here are some helpful articles from past and recent days that will help set our thinking straight (no pun intended).

The Briefing by Al Mohler.  Penetrating analysis of the transgender movement in light of the Times cover.

This Strange New World by Tim Challies.  A prediction eight years ago that gender issues would be confronting us wherever we turn.

Conservative Christianity and the Transgender Question by Russell Moore.  Words for dealing pastorally with this issue.

This Poor Child is Confused, not ‘Transgendered’ by Matt Walsh.  Perceptive insight into the family raising their young girl to be a boy.

Laverne Cox is not a Woman by Kevin […]

The Reflecting Pond

The former owners of our house, a sweet elderly couple, had told us there was once a small pond there, filled in years ago.  Yet it was difficult to believe.  For in the small, triangular area in our yard where they had pointed, the tangle of yuccas, irises, peonies, lilies, and weeds of all varieties made it impossible to see where a pool once existed.

However, after my wife and father-in-law cleared the area of the weeds and yuccas last fall, and pruned back the flowers, an oval outline of flat stones appeared.  Roughly six-by-nine feet in width, it looked like the border of a pool.  A little digging on the edges revealed the slope of what looked like a concrete liner.  After a winter of discussing it with my wife, with my ever-eager youngest daughter urging us on, we decided to see if we could open it up and even put some fish in it.

Over several weeks early this spring, catching an hour or two here and there between work, sporting events, and rain, Celia and I dug and mucked. There was indeed a concrete liner to the pool that went down a couple of feet deep in the center.  The gooey, bog-like material, […]

Life is Winning in Indiana

Last night, Life Centers, a pregnancy resource center here in central Indiana, hosted its thirty-first annual Celebration of Life banquet. The fund-raiser was headlined by keynote speaker Eric Metaxas. Indiana Governor Mike Pence addressed the audience of nearly one-thousand friends of life, and he ceremonially signed new pro-adoption legislation.

Testimonies were shared by women who have had abortions in the past but who are now counseling in centers around Indianapolis. Other stories highlighted the lives of nearly seven-thousand men, women, and children helped over the last year with a wide range of services. Two-hundred-thirty-nine women over the last year came to the centers seriously considering abortion but, by God’s grace, chose to carry their children to term. Many also put their faith in Jesus Christ through the ministry of Life Centers and have become part of local churches that labor together with it. How anyone could sit through these stories at the banquet with dry eyes, I’ll never know.

Paternity, Prepositions and Painful Prayers

Worthless.  Disgusting.  Useless.  What would you think of a father who describes his children with these words?  And what if this father encourages his children to describe themselves and one another the same way, especially when speaking to him?  Such “fatherhood” deserves the deepest contempt and its victims the deepest compassion.  Stunningly, it is this contemptible version of fatherhood which some Christians attribute to our Heavenly Father; even more stunningly, they consider this attribution a biblically based act of praise.    

Salvation in a Dementia Ward

Walking down the long hospital hallway, I approached the room in the emergency area where they had told me she would be found.  As I came near the door, I found a security guard sitting there.  He looked at me with sympathy as I identified myself and, with a warning and sad shaking of his head, gave me permission to enter.

I stepped into the room, my eyes adjusting to the dim lighting.  On the bed, I began to make out the figure of a woman lying there, the loose-fitting hospital gown twisted around her.  She was curled up, yet rocking and even writhing about on the bed.  Groaning, she had her back to me.  But the moment I spoke, she jerked up and, turning, glared at me.  “I know who you are,” she growled at me with eyes I could now see were wild with fear and anger. “You are Mr. Holy-Holy-Holy!”

The next moments stunned me.  Despite past experiences of being near and ministering to people high on drugs, involved in the occult, or living in mental asylums, never had I witnessed anything like this.  Without hyperbole, I can only describe it as demonic.  Lashing out, she commanded me to leave. […]