Saints.

Tonight I had dinner in a large room full of people who began this long journey of discipleship with us at JPUSA in the 1970’s. Singles, spouses, children and family members shared stories, looked at a long stream of black and white pictures and swapped jokes and trivia related to our shared community life and mission.We laughed, enjoyed fellowship, sang a number of old but not forgotten songs that rarely are sung these days.At the end of the night those who wished to do so prayed.As I thought about whether I should lift a prayer up aloud or not, I found myself simply thanking God for His incredible grace in the experience of serving for so many years with these incredible friends. Yes, saints.Well, I actually prayed thanking God that I was blessed in not only being able to read about saints, but to actually live with so many!Biblically speaking, all Christ-followers are truly saints through faith in Jesus, nothing more or less.Christians celebrate the “known” names, those many famous ones either in terms of them being mentioned in the Bible or throughout church history.Many churches display plaques, photos or paintings in order to help congregations remember and on occasion visitors inquire about who this or that person was. Whoever they were, they were part of the local church family, the life, mission and loving service of the Lord among those people in that place. They are remembered. People need reminders, though of course God never forgets His children and their service in Christ.Yet there is a very real blessing in being part of a local congregation with the same core of committed people serving- as imperfectly as we do and have.It is a unique and encouraging witness in a world that increasingly seems fragmented, disconnected, distanced from one another except for online social networks or the rare face-to-face meeting where anything of depth is actually shared.Perhaps like myself, those reading this have visited local churches around the world and from time to time have realized some of the people have actually served the Lord together for many decades. There is a closeness as a result of all the shared struggles, exchange of forgiveness and living out their faith as a group as opposed to being closed individuals living apart though in the same local church.Perhaps you are blessed in sharing a part of such an intimate fellowship. If you do, you know the cost and in truth, how amazing such a long-term shared walk is in our times.Celebrate!Or perhaps seek God honestly about what you are willing to do about that depth of shared call and mission with others where God has placed you.Saints. I’m so blessed by so many- right in my own house!-Glenn

Pass It On?

I spent quite a bit of time chatting with a longtime friend who works in a Christ-focused drug/alcohol rehab center last weekend.As we talked of the many train-wrecks regarding sexuality, drugs, booze and just about any relationships we had, a sad reality surfaced.About the time we began to follow Jesus and moreso over the next couple decades the obvious misery these things produced began to reap more of a toll- on the children of the parents.God gave he and I and our kids a lot of grace… but plenty of others have seen the results of their sinful behavior’s affects on their own kids… and it’s often devastating.I’m not trained in clinical psychology or any medical area whatsoever so I admit to simply guessing at what may ail us in this area.My guess is that some of the issues we are seeing in the last couple generations happened due to parents who were saturated with any number of drugs, alcohol and etc., as many of these children were being conceived. How many social disorders, learning disabilities and at least some mental problems were somewhat passed on to many of these kids as a result of our choices?God only knows.I admit to my own somewhat naive thinking that somehow after the 1970’s or at least ’80’s, mainstream society would understand the pain and misery all of these habits produce.Smoking is again an increasing addiction among a lot of younger gens, while crystal meth., ecstasy and crack cocaine and the devastation these cause to people have increased.As people grow up in a world where fewer and fewer seem to be worthy of trust, the economy is riddled with holes (blame Wall Street business rip-offs, big oil, this or that political party, take your pick) in the end it’s fully understandable why many younger younger people live careless lives.When one begins to pay the piper, “carefree” goes out the window.We can trace so many current miseries to decisions made on the basis of momentary emotion and pleasure and not much else.Sin-nature, which the Bible clearly tells us all have, is in each and every person and therefore generation. But the fact is that many parents made choices early-on that caused a great deal of stress and confusion in the minds of many of their kids.I’m not at all laying the entire blame in every case on parents, please don’t think that’s my point. Fact is, Cain and Abel had the same parents.In plenty of cases our children reap what we ourselves have sown- both good and ill.Many of us have had kids without any noticeable issues traceable to our past drug or other addictions… but in some cases the sad problems have risen up.There are plenty of reasons to consider what we do… and pass on to our children in the process.-Glenn