Sunday, June 28, 2009

WHY WE SING"JESUS LOVES ME" IN MY CHURCH( and it's NOT because it has a good beat-and is easy to dance to)

Today we had a GREAT TIME in our Children's Church worship time! In our Church , we do'nt do a "babysitting" time, we do'nt watch veggie tales during Children's Church( although, the CHRISTMAS EPISODE IS THE BEST)- nope... we "do "WORSHIP.. we teach the children K-2nd grade about the regulative principle of Worship( the BIBLE alone tells us what the elements of Worship should be...), we teach them the distinctives of our reformed Faith- along with the Apostles Creed, The Catechism, Singing the OLD HYMNS- singing the new PRAISE SONGS( psst....hey do'nt tell anyone but One time I taught them a D.C. TALK RAP song), and we have a message, that's right -a little sermon.. and the "theme" of EVERY message is this: JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW- YEP.. that's it... now I know what you are thinking: you are thinking: "hey... where's the stuff about supralapsarianism??, the continuity between the covenants?? the stuff about the sacramental view of the Church??? this IS CLAY CALLAWAY'S BLOG, is'nt it? HONEY, there's something wrong with our computer! Call Shane- I think we have a virus!!... yeah THAT'S WHAT you are thinking.. but relax ...YOU ARE at the right blog.. but like the young people say- I just "broke it down for ya brother" you see... all the BIG WORDS in our discussions about THEOLOGY are just another way of talking about the MOST WONDERFUL , PROFOUND, and yet SIMPLE MESSAGE in all the WORLD- JESUS LOVES ME!!!I LOVE THAT SONG... in Fact, we sang it today... "For the Bible tells me so" yes.. it tells ALL of HIS children( no matter what age)... He Loves you..." Little Ones to HIM belong" NOW THAT LINE TOTALLY ROCKS( as the young people say... are'nt you glad I am "down with" the young people?)Little ONES TO HIM BELONG!! We were singing that song this morning and "my" children's church kids were singing with ALL their might... I could'nt help thinking how blessed those children are be in a Church that teaches them something SO POWERFUL: They can LOVE JESUS, believe in Jesus, trust in HIM.. no MATTER HOW YOUNG THEY MIGHT BE!They are learning the BIBLICAL truth that GOD works through families to call HIS children unto Himself. God will be our GOD and the GOD OF OUR CHILDREN- The promise is unto us and to OUR CHILDREN and to as many as the Lord will call.. ok you get the idea??? Jesus is OUR GOD and the GOD of our kids.. there.. I said it( well..actually I typed it) what a JOY it is to see these little ones growing up LOVING JESUS with ALL their heart, really believing and KNOWING that HE is their Savior, knowing that He DIED for THEM... and SADLY some adults hear these precious little souls praying to their heavenly Father, talking about how they Love Him, and how he is THEIR FRIEND... and deep down inside these "rationally minded" adults THINK," Now is'nt that "CUTE"??well... at least MAYBE ONE DAY they will grow up and REALLY UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL"We sort of "wink" and smile when they tell us that they love HIM..." and those prayers for the sick pets??? We smile and pray with if JESUS REALLY CARES ABOUT EVERY THING IN OUR LIVES.. but NO... we really do'nt believe THAT do we?? we ADULTS think that we REALLY KNOW JESUS.. if ONLY these children knew JESUS LIKE WE KNOW HIM!!! We are just kinda playing a little game with this " Jesus Loves Me" stuff..... WELL.... ARE'nt WE????Because you see...if we "got it" like our children "get it" .. we would know and BELIEVE the message," Jesus Loves Me".. the amazing truth that HIS LOVE is a gift... we ca'nt do aanything to earn His favor... He will never Leave us.. He cares about EVERYTHING IN OUR LIFE- He died on the Cross for our sin and we are going to live with him forever- Dear reader- our children "get it"... but sadly some of us do'nt, especially some in the REFORMED community- some of our Brethren who sail on the Sea of Sovereign Grace with us are riding in a leaky boat... they are sinking... and their children are jumping overboard.... because the GOSPEL of GRACE is not being lived out- The children in some of these fellowships are ALWAYS in turmoil.. always wondering if they are "among the elect".. they are constantly thinking about themselves.and WHAT THEY DO( uh oh... we are starting to seek refuge on the ISLAND oF GOOD WORKS.-watch out for the filthy rags of righteousness) and they so afraid that they are not exhibiting the true marks of a believer( spare me the scripture about "examining yourselves to make sure you are in the faith- I will address that in another post)the children of these"hyper-calvinists"can never rest in Jesus' love... I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I HAVE PRAYED FOR SOME OF THESE FAMILIES... The morbid introspection of their parents is passed down to the children( well at least they are covenantal in one sense)... always wondering... always afraid...always hoping that ONE DAY they will REALLY be able to say that they love Jesus.. one day they MIGHT reach that Mysterious age of "accountability"( By the way- not in the BIBLE) when they can TRULY say that they LOVE JESUS... Dear Friends... do'nt do this to your children... do'nt discourage them from believing that Jesus LOVES THEM, and that HE is their GOD... One day some parents took their children to Jesus so that he might Lay hands on them and bless them... the disciples rebuked them...I bet it happened like this... ( hey this is MY BLOG... grant me a little creative license) Here's the scene a little over 2000 years ago-

Peter-" Hey John, we have a problem with some of these folks in the crowd and I am starting to get really angry... I ca'nt believe these people want to bring their children to Jesus so that he can bless them.. they are acting like Jesus cares about their children.. I mean I know they believe that Jesus is from God.. and THEY believe in Him.. but bringing their CHILDREN TO HIM?? Give me a bREAK!

John-" Hey Peter, tell the people that Jesus does'nt have time for CHILDREN.. they ca'nt really love HIM.. they do'nt understand who Jesus is.. why.. some of those kids are just babies.. what good would it do to bring them to Jesus"

Thomas-" I doubt that any of these folks have studied theology"

Judas- " Hey if the adults wanna go get blessed by Jesus, they can drop their kids off at our little daycare service- we could charge a few denari for snacks for the tykes... we could really use the money..."

James-" ok... ok .. I say we let the kids go get blessed by Jesus.. but ONLY THE ONES who can properly explain what Sin REALLY IS.. and show by their works that they have true faith"

Andrew- " I wonder if any of these people have read Rabbi Spurgeons little tract- " Bring your children to Jesus for Blessing- but only when they are old enough to be immersed"

Matthew-"Man, I thought I had a stressful job before I got this disciple "gig" !- but trying to get people to understand Jesus's feelings toward their children???- this is worse than trying to help someone fill out a 1040 form with no w-2s"

well... this discussion went on and on and the scripture says that Jesus became INDIGNANT now This word" Indignant is POWERFUL-.. this is the ONLY TIME IN SCRIPTURE that THIS LEVEL OF ANGER is ATTRIBUTED TO JESUS.. NOT when he threw out the money changers... not when he rebuked the pharisees, NO WHERE ELSE!!!Dear Reader, Jesus rebuked the disciples and said" Let the little children come unto me, and do not hinder them -for to such belongs the KINGDOM OF GOD" .. He took them up in his arms and blessed them...." Dear Christian Friends, Jesus Loves your children.. and let me tell you something EVEN MORE PRECIOUS-THEY KNOW IT... and they LOVE HIM.... Rest in that Promise... what are you going to do with the very words of the One who died for us:?? " for to such belongs the kingdom of God" You can try to explain it away with all your Weust's Keys to the Greek... you can dust off Spurgeon and hold him up as a great Calvinist who knew the truth, .Granville Sharpes rule aint gonna help you explain away his love for your children... Rest, dear friends... rejoice in His LOVE for our little ones.. you can forget all these words that I have written here.. but do this one thing... the Next time your kids are singing "Jesus Loves Me" ... think about the words... be blessed by His promise...Sing it together as a family... It's a great song- and by the way.. it does have a good beat.. and it IS easy to dance to... but most importantly.. it's a great way to remind ourselves that His LOVE for US is a FREE gift.. it's not about what we do.. it's about what HE has done- The Bible TELLS ME SO!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whats the Big Deal??( Letterman was only joking.. right?)

You've heard havent you??? it's been on Foxnews and EVERY other news station ... David Letterman made a crude joke about Sarah Palin's daughter... and LOTS of folks were outraged... and thats SO SAD.- it's sad that they got angry about that joke... ok... let me say it this way.. it's SO SAD THAT it TOOK THIS INCIDENT TO ANGER THEM.. I mean , if you stop to think about it( please think about it, it will make my blogging worthwhile- sorry... Mr. Camus said I needed to be authenticated) , I think you will agree that our culture has become so crude and coarse- it's been that way for a while...I think it was when our good friend , the television came to live in all our homes! Well, he certainly helped us to be creative with our crudeness. All of us have learned lots of humorous ways to be vulgar. You know , we 've learned to laugh at those who are having a hard time. We chuckled at our leaders when they fell into sin- We REPUBLICANS felt like we had struck comedy gold when President Clinton committed adultery... and while we were laughing... a wife was heartbroken because her husband had lost the battle with his flesh one more time, a young girl 's heart was torn apart because her Dad had betrayed the family, and a hurting, confused young woman who was reaching out for affection and affirmation saw her name turned into a description of a sexual act ... funny stuff huh??? hilarious... but hey.. there's nothing wrong with a few laughs is there???.. well YES... in FACT there is.... especially when there's nothing funny ... say like when your so called "witty comments" come down to this: treating WOMEN like OBJECTS to be laughed at, to be joked about, reduced to sexual playthings- and even if they are not YOUR playthings... you think it's funny that SOMEONE else is "playing" with them.. or could be... WOW are'nt we cool and clever??? A LONG time ago a Leader of a great people was being a little lazy... sleeping during the day. He got up from his nap , walked around on his roof.. and saw a woman bathing. His FIRST thought was to treat her like a THING... yeah thats right ... he was thinking,' Man, I got an itch that needs scratching- she'll do quite nicely... I need to get her up to my place for drinks- a sloe gin fizz will help to take the edge off)... Now you know who I am talking about.. yep.. it's King David.. and the woman was Bathsheba.. we've heard the story a million times.. but there's a guy that gets left out of the story...You see, David told one of his servants to find out about this beautiful woman that he saw- Here's the man's report," Is'nt this Bathsheba, The DAUGHTER of Eliam, and The WIFE of Urriah the Hittite" Do you get what this man was trying to get David to see.????.. Maybe( ok just maybe)he was trying to say, " KING DAVID, this woman has a name, she is not JUST a BEAUTIFUL BODY, This woman is SOMEONE's DAUGHTER, This Woman is SOMEONE's WIFE, and YOU WANT to treat her LIKE a plaything, to use her to satisfy your lust, you want to treat her like an object..." well, this man who gave David this report just disappeared... he is'nt mentioned again... but what wisdom is displayed in those couple of verses!!! We know what David did... and the consequences of his actions. I am certain that there was lots of laughing going on that evening when Bathsheba came up to the King's palace.. everything was so funny... I wonder what Eliam was thinking when he heard that HIS DAUGHTER was seen with the KING on the roof that evening. He knew what was going on.. I bet he was'nt laughing... I wonder if the servants who "fetched" Bathsheba for David were joking.. I bet they were... laughing about what was going on in the King's bedroom...hey.. there's nothing wrong with a little laughter is there... It's just Bathsheba... SOMEONE's wife- SOMEONES daughter.... go ahead... laugh.!!!...lighten's only a joke ... What's the Big Deal??

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

MY COMMENCEMENT SPEECH TO THE CLASS OF 2009( if anyone had asked me to give one)

OK... I HAVE to admit... no institutions of higher learning( or lower learning.. or even in- the middle learning.).. asked me to speak to their graduating class... to be honest with ya... I have been busy laying stone on a cabin in Alabama, stripping floors at Grace Christian Academy.and packing herbal wormer for the goat supply business.. not much time for speech making.. so EVEN IF YOU HAD asked... really.. it did'nt hurt my feelings, I had nothing prepared.. and I ALSO was busy trying to decide which wheel barrow to use on next weeks project... ok enough about me.... here's the "charge" to ALL the Jesus Followers who are moving on to the next level- Thanks to my friend Pastor Louis Wilson who inspired this "speech" with his sermon," The American Dream without God is a Nightmare"

Congratulations Class of 2009- and thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today! Today is your graduation.. . you ( and your parents) have said things like," MAN, I am glad this is finally over...I never thought this day would come".. Well , IT'S HERE ! CONGRATULATIONS!Now,we can talk about the fact that this is the beginning of the rest of your life... this is a milestone... this is the end of one chapter of your life- and you are about to turn the page on another-. SO many commencement speakers say things like: study hard at your next institution of Higher learning, believe in yourself, work hard, go to college so that you can BE SOMEBODY, get a good education so that you can get a good job and make a lot of money... you've heard it.. Parents have said these things to their children for generations... and those PARENTS ARE SO MISGUIDED.. ( ok kids.. respect your parents.. just make sure they read THIS SPEECH.. they'll be ok)... Now it IS TRUE that you need a good education.... and it is true that you need to study/work hard... ( I bet you figured out where I am going with this have'nt ya??) THE REASONING BEHIND these admonitions is wrong... First of all... no matter what you do after this graduation YOU ARE ALREADY SOMEBODY!!! YOU are a Child of the KING.. you have been created with a soul that will never, ever die. He sent HIS SON to die on the cross for your sins- HE LOVES YOU... the scripture says that he "rejoices over you with singing" , " He Will comfort you like a Mother comforts her Child"... sorry my republican Brothers... Jesse Jackson is CORRECT.. I AM ( YOU ARE!) somebody!!! No matter if you are "Sophie the washwoman" or the CEO of a huge corporation...SO NOW THAT YOU KNOW THAT.... it's time to take your eyes OFF YOUR SELF!!!Your response to your "somebody-ness" should not be sitting around all day practicing Rose-colored introspection... Your response should be THANKSGIVING.... ok ... NOW we are moving in the right direction.. are ya with me.?? Yep.. you got it now.. I can feel it.. now you know that YOUR KING came to SERVE.... uh oh... I am liking that word," SERVE".. in fact lets park it right here for a moment.. because thats the REASON that you need to study hard/work hard/ go to college.. etc... so that you can help people, SERVE OTHERS... You can HELP MORE PEOPLE if you continue your education... MANY MORE DOORS OF ministry will be opened to you if you take advantage of every opportunity to grow .God will use it to mold you into the person you are supposed to be. Maybe the BLESSING of our recession is going to be clear in the days to come... yes.. I said BLESSING... because the way it looks now... a College degree is no guarantee of a great job, lots of money, or prestige...things are tough... they might get worse... who knows.??. we are in God's hands... we do not know what will happen.. but we KNOW WHAT WE ARE TO DO.. We are to LOVE OTHERS.... SERVE OTHERS.Maybe we will stop thinking about the things that pass away.. Maybe our economic down-turn will help us to look "up" and to set our affections on things that are eternal... maybe..! Well..... study hard... but do'nt worry.... there isnt a test.... well in a way there is... more to come.. later...