Today is Memorial Day, where we honor the fallen Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines who died fighting for the United States of America, the Greatest Country on Earth!
Last year, I was introducted to the Avenue of Flags in my hometown. It was started 25 years ago by the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
In an old cemetery here we have the largest display in the country of casket flags of deceased veterans. Over 800 flags! The inner circle contains about a dozen flags from the AMERICAN REVOLUTION! There are a number of flags from the 1800's as well. We are getting new ones each year. Volunteers, including a bunch of Boy Scouts, hang these 800 flags (each is 6 foot by 9 foot!) throughout this beautiful old cemetery. In the morning there is a Memorial Day event. People drive and walk through the display all day. Then the volunteers retire the flags in the late afternoon. We do this each Memorial and Veterans day.
If I haven't mentioned it yet, I Love America!
Here we have this cool experiment in Freedom. But, as you know, Freedom is not free. It costs blood and treasure. Freedom in America is a gift from God, and the sacrifices of the courageous before us. Men like George Washington, Patrick Henry, William Marion, Ronald Reagan.
Men like my brother-in-law who is flying helicopters for the Marine Corps in Irag today.
There was a beautiful ceremony honoring a WWII vet who died recently. This gentelman survived the Battan Death March. He, and those who served with him, is a Hero. Following the proceedings, the soldiers present performed a 21 gun salute. I cried.
I'm tired from putting up and taking down those flags. I'm happy that I'm tired. I am so grateful to live in the United States of America.
Though my citizenship is in Heaven, the Bible says, I love the country God has allowed me to live in. Thank you, Veterans.
All for His Fame, paul
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Yesterday, 5 year old Maria Sue Chapman left this Earth to be with the Lord Jesus. Her body was killed in a terrible accident in her front yard. Her older brother was driving and accidentally ran over her.
Steven Curtis Chapman is my wife's favorite singer. She has seen him perform, like, 16 times. Thanks to SCC, we're talking about maybe adopting, like the Chapman's did.
We were on vacation and just finished watching David Cook win American Idol when we heard the sad news. My tears started, and we gathered our daughters together and prayed for the Chapmans. Steven's (and Mary Beth's) ministry has been so huge to us and to the watching world. His song's reflect the greatness of our God, and His overwhelming love and care for us who belong to Him.
I have 4 girls. I cannot fathom the Chapman's pain at this moment.
But God can. He is grieving with the Chapman's. But His grief is for them, not for Maria, who is with Him right now.
"Heavenly Father, shower the Chapman's with your overwhelming love. Let no lie of the enemy stand. Show your supernatural grace to be sufficient in even this time of unbearable pain.
Only You can turn tragedy into victory. 'Death has been swallowed up in Victory.' 1 Cor 15: 54
We need You, Lord. Today and always."
All for His Fame (even when it hurts), paul
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Passion World Tour
It is difficult to maintain perspective. That is a basic element of the human condition - me centeredness. The good news is that God does not share our problem. He can see fully, even when we see only a poor reflection, like in a polished brass "mirror."
One difficulty in maintaining perspective is detail of remembering that I am only one of about 6 Billion People. I'm not the main one, nor a more important one. I am one.
The good news, is that because of what God has said about me in Jesus, I am an unbelievably valuable one. The even better news is that God has said the same thing about every one of the 6 billion of us.
My friend Louie Giglio (wasn't that fun to say...we've, like, shaken hands twice, though I feel very much like a friend) and the whole super hard working Passion team have set out on a World Tour. 17 dates on the five other continents (Antarctica will have to watch on DVD). Unreal. These are first class, free (or nearly free) events to declare the story of our God to the college age generations in these world cities. Complete with a full-tilt worship experience led by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder*Band or Charlie Hall (usually two, sometimes three of them) and I'm sure a super-cool talk by Louie and sometimes Francis Chan.
I am so humbled.
I'm so glad that God isn't like me. I am way to unable and usually unwilling to think a whole lot past me and mine. Sometimes my vision gets expanded, but it usually shrinks back soon enough.
Not so with our Marvelous God. He sees. He knows. He loves. And His love changes things. His love changed the universe, when His voice thundered out, "You, o' sinful man, are valuable to Me! I will send my Son, Jesus, to rescue you from sin and death, and give you a life worth living...forever!"
And thanks to God for moving the Passion team to go All Over the World declaring this awesome message. God has been using Louie & the Passion team to change me like you would not believe. Isn't it like God to use the passion in a handful of people to start a worldwide movement? Go Jesus!
You can play a part. The cost for this journey is about $7.5 million. Passion has arranged for $4 of that, but still has $3.5 million left for God to provide. I encourage you to go to www.268generation.com, www.268blog.com, and www.passionworldtour.com and check out this story further. If God prompts you to cheer on this movement, then click on there and GIVE.
It is All for His Fame!
And, it's All over the world*!
* Colossians 1:6 (New International Version) All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.