The letter to the Colossians is one of the Apostle Paul’s most substantial writings. There are few books in the Bible with deeper reflection on who Christ is and the work of Christ in the world. Paul writes this letter to not only encourage the Colossians, but to remind them of all that they have and all that they are because of Christ.
Among the many blessings in my life that I give thanks for are my parents. I was raised in a good home, with two loving parents. My parents have always been supportive of me and that has made all the difference for me as son, husband, father and pastor.
Several years ago, I decided social media was the greatest new thing since sliced bread, particularly when I discovered I could stay in touch with my adult children even though they lived hundreds or even thousands of miles away. They would post pictures of what they were doing, and it made me feel like I was there with them. Later, I also discovered how social media helped me re-connect with old friends from high school. Friends I’m sure I would never have heard from again were it not for social media. What could be bad about this amazing new technological innovation?
It was on July 16, 1969 at approximately 9:30 in the morning that Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Aboard this ship were three brave men, Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Neil Collins. The massive Saturn V rocket carried with it the equipment and vehicles the astronauts would need to orbit and land on the moon. It was a moment the whole world would watch with breathless anticipation. A few days later, on July 20 the Eagle would land safely on the moon.
The story of Paul’s conversion is a pivotal story in the life of Christianity. Paul was a young Jewish leader who was focused on combating the growing number of people who were following Jesus. Paul decided to expand his persecution of Christians to Damascus. While on the road to Damascus Paul is knocked off his horse and blinded. At the same moment, he hears the voice of Jesus. From this moment on Paul, who once persecuted the Church, now works to spread the news of Christ around the world.
But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed at them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them; they were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do; for evil is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is so ill-natured that one cannot speak to him.” Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two skins of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched grain, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
She fell at his feet and said, “Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt; pray let your handmaid speak in your ears, and hear the words of your handmaid. Let not my lord regard this ill-natured fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I your handmaid did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt, and from taking vengeance with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. And now let this present which your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord.
And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand!
1 Samuel 25:14-18, 24-27, 32-33
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
I am always amazed at the power of music. A good song has the ability to speak to us in the most profound ways. Often, we hear that music is the “international language.” Without a doubt, music has the ability to transcend language, culture, generational boundaries and so much more.
Harold Henry Reese was a great American athlete. He demonstrated his competitive talents early in life when he became a marbles champion of Louisville, Kentucky. It was because of his great skills with marbles that that he earned his nickname that would stay with him for the rest of his life, “Pee Wee.”
Have you ever accidentally found out that someone said something hurtful about you or someone you love, and it left a mark? Maybe you are like me and your mind starts racing, trying to justify why this person made you their punchline… Was it personal? Were they just trying to be cool around their friends? Language is a very powerful force in my life. It sticks with me, for better or for worse. That might be why I still feel a sting a year and a half later when I remember what that one person said that one time as a tasteless joke.