It is so good to be back home in my home church. The Philippines trip was a good one and in the very near future, I will send out a report about that trip. But it’s always good to be home. I missed my family, dearly. And I missed you. There is nothing like worshipping Jesus with the church I love the most on earth.
Now, onto some things from Sunday that are still on my mind:
- Ephesians 2:1-10, is perhaps one of the richest texts on God’s work in our salvation. This text is the reason many of us are Reformed in our understanding of God’s sovereignty over our salvation. It is a text that you can hear that salvation belongs to our God, who sits on His throne.
- This text makes clear man’s condition: dead, fallen, depraved…but it makes known God’s amazing grace…”by grace you were saved” is mentioned twice in this text for the purpose of us seeing that we can only be saved by God and for God.
- God is not sitting in heaven with anger towards His people…God’s message of the Cross, is a message of judgment…for those who don’t believe…this is why we should warn of the judgment of God to those who won’t repent…but we should expound, exemplify, and extol the cross is primarily about God’s love, mercy & grace on full display. This is why I think Sunday’s are so important. They are a day when we sing, marvel, and praise the One who is rich in mercy and is great in His love towards us.
- “Dead and a shark eating our heart out”…that visual helps me greatly when I consider my state before Christ entered my life. Doomed, darkened, and dead…only Christ can make me see and give me life.
- There are times when I get overwhelmed by a text and it feels like a faucet I can’t turn off…Most of this is from the fact that I am overwhelmed by God’s kindness towards me in Christ. I was an angry, proud, rebel whom God saved because of His mercy and love. And when I preach on that…raw emotion flows.
- I was surprised by how often I had to fight back tears when I was preaching. Too be honest, I hate that, because some preachers conjure up tears for effect. And some, when they see tears, assume that’s what is going on in me. But I can assure you…I’ve never been that guy.
- This past week was an odd one because my prep time was odd this week for other reasons (see below) and therefore I really didn’t get too much time for study. I did “lay a soak in the text” and then did most of my writing Friday and late Saturday. It was an unusual week.
Brief thoughts on the Philippines: As mentioned earlier, I will write an extended report soon and send it out to our church family. So these thoughts are more personal in nature.
- I was surprised by how clean things were. I was expecting it to be a bit dirtier. Everyone told me that was the effects of the new President. Does this sound familiar? One Christian said, “I may not like what he’s done in his past, but I sure do like his policies.” I think I’ve said that 1-2 times in the last year or so.
- I was amazed at the hospitality of the Filipinos. They’re known for this around the world, but they are a remarkably hospitable and happy people.
- It wasn’t too hot for my taste. I did laugh when they were holding umbrellas for shade or wearing long sleeves to keep them from getting darker. They would rather have fair skin, like me and I would rather be darker skinned like them:).
- I really did enjoy the food…frankly, I hate at 6 different buffets, which were amazing. I’m not sure how you gain weight in a 3rd world country, but I did it. At one of these buffets, because it was my birthday month, my Aussie friend, Dave Taylor, had the servers sing Happy Birthday to me. They sang, danced and clapped…loudly and awkwardly. I’ve included the video below to show you what I mean…it was weird…
- The flight over and back is really long…14.5 hours going over and 12.5 coming back.
- I landed back in Portland late Sunday night and came home Monday in time for baseball practice and my son’s baseball game. To say that I was exhausted by Wednesday would be an understatement. Jet lag hit me hard on Wednesday.
- When I went over, jet lag hit me a few days in…I was actually sitting at a table about 7:00 p.m. and an American man was showing me card tricks…and I couldn’t keep my eyes awake and just about put my head face down on the table and went to sleep! Pretty embarrassing. I went to bed at 7:30 and woke up at 4:30 feeling great.
- I was glad that I never got sick while I was there. I worked hard to stay away from leafy stuff and drink only bottled water. Worked great.
- Thank you for your prayers. Cannot thank you enough for sending me and supporting me to go.
From the Cheap Seats:
- I’m not a Blazers’ fan, but I’m really happy for those who are.
- UVC baseball, the team I coach, hopefully is about to win their 3rd consecutive league title. Very proud of these guys.
- It’s hard to believe that I’m ending my 20th year of coaching High School baseball.
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.