Change

Change

On December 27, 2019, my youngest son, Jacob, was a motorcycle riding, jet airplane flying, tattoo wearing, guitar playing, pistol-packing connoisseur of life. If it was exciting, Jacob tried it. If it would scare the daylights out of your parents, Jacob did it. If it was an adventure, Jacob was all for it. On December 28, 2019, everything changed. When you go to Jacob’s house now you have to douse your hands in sanitizer. If you have a sniffle or a cough, you’d better wear a mask. Right now, there is no rough-housing, throwing a football across the living room, cranking the amplifier to “rattle-the-windows” level anymore. What happened? Caleb was born. Jacob became a father.

He and Allison are going to be marvelous parents. I can just tell. They are attentive, meticulous in their care, diligent in how they are watching over little Caleb Race. They are listening to their pediatrician, researching everything on Google (the bane of all health care providers), and making sure that they are doing the very best job they can, caring for this little bundle of joy. They are loving him and loving on him like nobody’s business. They have only known him a week and yet their whole universe revolves around him.
Isn’t it amazing the change that one event, one choice, one new introduction into the landscape of our lives can make? One minute I am “footloose and fancy-free.” The next minute I am a responsible father, taking care of my recuperating wife and my newborn son. Cataclysmic change in an instant!

And not only change but life long change. Jacob has been talking about preschool costs, high school comparisons, and college funds. He is planning his next few months of flying and his next 20 years of living in a whole new way, based on the introduction of this 6-pound glob of flesh that he holds in his lap every time we visit. Just a week ago he was sending us pictures of the next plane he wanted to buy and the dream destinations for him and Allison. Now he is sending us pictures of cribs assembled, changing tables painted, and Caleb, asleep, doing absolutely nothing.

This morning in my Bible reading, I read the story of Abram and his initial encounters with God. One minute he is a wandering, no name, nomad, living in a nowhere place called Haran. The next minute (Genesis 12:1) he is hearing from God, going to claim a land that he doesn’t even know, talking to angels, rescuing people, and becoming the father of the greatest thing that God ever did, adopting a people to be His own. Man, how things changed in an instant. In a little while, God will change his name, give him a son, promise him the world, and set him on an adventure that is still being played out today. Maybe the most amazing part of all of that is that Abram (Abraham) just listens to God and does what he says. I read today, “And Abram believed the Lord and God credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

Maybe that is the secret to these life-changing events, trusting God, and going all in. Jacob (my Jacob) could have kissed Allison on the cheek, patted Caleb (his Caleb) and hopped on his motorcycle for another adventure. But he bought into the Dad thing. Giving himself up for the thing that God has brought into his life. Abram (God’s Abram) could have chosen the same grass that Lot did (Genesis 13) and had a nice, rich, Ben Cartwright and the Ponderosa kind of life. (You millennials, ask your parents.) But he believed that this change came from God. He trusted that God was going to take care of the details. And he packed up and bought into the whole plan that God had for him.

As we enter this new year, new decade, I imagine that God is going to drop some circumstances and happenings in our laps that will change everything for us. We will, one minute, be heading the way we THOUGHT we were supposed to go, and in the next, hear the GPS say, “Recalculating. Go a different way.” We can fuss, fret, fume, and be fearful. OR…we can buy into the idea that God is doing something amazing in us if we will just trust Him and do what He says. Henry Blackaby, years ago in Experiencing God said, “Find out what God is doing and plug in there.” I don’t know where this year is headed for you and I am pretty sure that you don’t either. But God does and the changes He will bring about will ALWAYS be for the best. “And we know that ALL things work together for the good, for those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Not for the easy. Not for the comfortable. But for the good.

So, get ready to change. Look forward to what God is about to do. Get your hand sanitizer out and start buying into this whole new way of life that God has for you. And just like Abram, and just like Jacob (my Jacob), you might discover that this is the greatest thing that ever happened.

Oh, and by the way, I can’t wait until Caleb calls HIS dad and says, “I got a tattoo.”

Influence

Influence

I was a young associate pastor at a great university church in Ohio. The first Sunday that I was there, a long, lean, lanky guy, about my age, came up to me and said, “Hey, I’d like to get breakfast with you this week.” His name was Sam Riggleman and he was the baseball coach… Continue Reading

Advent Again

Advent Again

December 1, 2019 Advent 2019 We spent the weekend with Jon-Mical and Jakson, our grandsons. Jon-Mical is 11, almost 12 and in that awkward place between the silliness of a child and the self-imposed seriousness of a young man. Jakson, on the other hand, at 8, is right in the middle of the joyous delight… Continue Reading

Reflecting

Reflecting

Today would have been my father’s 87th birthday. He died a couple of years ago after a battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, basically black lung disease without the coal mining. I was with him a lot in the weeks before he died, something for which I am grateful, but left his house in northern Kentucky… Continue Reading

Almost Done

Almost Done

Yesterday was Sunday in Israel. Since Shabbat ended Saturday at sundown, we were back to a full day of visiting some amazing sights. We have been in the north for several days, staying each night in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, and touring the Galilee area. This trip is different from any other time… Continue Reading