Final Edition

Paul begins his letter to the Philippians with the prayer, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” - Phil 1:3-6

As I close out this season of ministry as Sr. Pastor at Community Church, these same words carry great significance. I truly do thank God for Community Presbyterian Church and do so with much joy! What has made it so joyful? Of course, I must mention the phenomenal staff I’ve been able to work with … as youth director, Associate Pastor, and Sr. Pastor. My fellow staff over the years has been and is nothing short of amazing. They’ve been so much more than co-workers … they’ve been friends. They’ve made coming to the office a time of fellowship, joy, and encouragement rather than a time of drudgery. The officers, elders and deacons, at CPC have been and are truly amazing, always finding a way to work together for the peace and purity of the church. These guys have relentlessly sought to serve this congregation in the best possible way and point the congregation to Jesus. I’ve seen them willingly take blame and criticism for things that were not even remotely their fault, but because of their love for the church they never wavered in their desire to protect the dignity and reputation of others. And the entire congregation, every member and visitor, has been and still today is this beautiful picture of God’s amazing grace. Community has been so much more than just another church down the street, more than just the Presbyterian option among the churches in Moody. Community is a family of those who have tasted God’s saving grace and who have cared for one another in powerful ways in the midst of life’s pleasures, pains, successes, disappointments, joys, sorrows, ups, downs, and everything in between. Community is the family who has cared for me for over half my life and watched me grow up. Community is the family who has patiently allowed me to fail in my various leadership roles yet has never condemned or rejected me. Community is the family who has celebrated birth and grieved over the death of Boykin children. Community is the family who helped Anita and me raise our children. Community is the family who has showered the Boykin family with love and care since 1986. All this, and much more, is part of why I pray with joy when I give God thanks for CPC.

But there’s another reason, perhaps even more significant, and it’s also part of Paul’s prayer for the Philippians. It’s “your partnership in the gospel” that is the most important thing on the list of things for which to be thankful and joyous about. Community has been and is all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. CPC, by God’s grace, hasn’t been focused on itself or any particular agenda other than the Gospel. And brothers and sisters, that’s pretty rare when it comes to churches! So many are self-promoting, focused on themselves, seeking to advance a particular social or some other agenda, obsessed with personal preferences, and seeking to please man rather than God. I’m not saying that CPC hasn’t struggled with any of that, but I am saying with great confidence that CPC first and foremost desires the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be her fundamental identity and message. And it is such a joy to be in partnership for this simple reason … to advance the Gospel.

And the great part is that it’s not nearly over! Even though I’ll not be serving as Sr. Pastor I’ll be around and will continue to be in partnership with you in the Gospel. This ministry of Evangelize Today that I’m involved in is not in any way designed to be my little personal project. Rather, it’s a ministry that will, by God’s grace, continue to advance our partnership in the Gospel as I seek to help this congregation and others get more interested and involved in the work of evangelism.

So I trust you’re looking forward to this next chapter of our partnership … I know I am.

D-Day

Seventy-five years ago, June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 brave Allied soldiers invaded the shores of Normandy in France as part of Operation Overlord. The D-Day attack began with paratroopers jumping in the darkness behind enemy lines. Their job was to destroy key targets and capture bridges so the main invasion force could land on t he beach. The next stage involved thousands of planes dropping bombs on German defenses. And soon following, warships began to bomb the beaches from the sea. While this was going on, underground members of the French Resistance sabotaged the Germans by cutting telephone lines and destroying railroads.

Then came the main invasion force of 6,000 ships carrying troops, weapons, tanks, and equipment all needed for the beach invasion. On one of those ships was my father-in-law, Dr. Wilbur E. New. Though Dr. New’s job on this Navy vessel was a cook, everyone had an important function and battle station. His ship wasn’t in the first wave of action because it was carrying General Omar Bradley. They actually landed some 24 hours after the initial attack. Over 2,500 American soldiers, around 2,000 British and Canadians, and somewhere between 4-9,000 Germans lost their lives that day. I remember Dr. New talking about the scene as his ship approached the beach … mass destruction, the smoke and smell, hundreds of bodies floating in the sea. We’ve likely all read accounts, watched movies, and heard stories of this day that literally changed the course of history. This was the beginning of the end for Hitler and Nazi Germany’s genocidal machine, even though the official surrender wasn’t until May 7, 1945.

I am and should be immensely grateful to my father and father-in-law who fought in WWII … in fact, to that entire generation. Our way of life and freedoms are in large part due to their commitment, love, devotion, submission, and sacrifice. It’s nearly inconceivable to show disrespect to these soldiers and what they did for us.

Yet we are often utterly disrespectful to Another who made the ultimate sacrifice on another d-day on a hill just outside of Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. His love, commitment, devotion, submission, and sacrifice is infinite and changed the world for eternity. Our way of life and freedom from the tyranny of sin and evil was secured at that time and place in history. The enemy and death was handed a death blow that day, even though we await His second coming and completion of the salvation He earned for us there on Calvary.

So as we remember the brave soldiers who were a part of D-Day, those who died and those who lived, let us remember and show respect to our Savior Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose again and who defeated an even greater enemy. Let us live in such a way today, and every day, that we show respect and honor and thanksgiving for what He has done for us.



Fishing Used to Be So Simple

Recently someone asked me if I ever go fishing. My honest answer was “no.” It’s not that I don’t want to but I just don’t. It may be mostly an excuse for my laziness but the people I talk to who fish are really serious about it. They have the right boats, the right gear, the right clothing, etc. and I have none of that stuff. When I was a kid I went fishing a lot but all it took was a pole, line, hook, and some worms. We didn’t have boats; we just stood on the shore, fished, and had a blast!

Until fairly recently people would ask me if I ever did evangelism. I stumbled around with self-justifying answers, but the honest answer was “no.” It’s not that I didn’t want to but I just didn’t. It was mostly just an excuse for my laziness but the people I knew who did “real” evangelism were really serious about it. They had the right programs, the right training, the right strategies, etc. I actually did have some of that stuff but really wasn’t sure what to do with all of it. It became cumbersome, confusing, burdensome, and frustrating. Instead of motivating me it mostly produced guilt and more inaction.

Just like fishing, evangelism became far too complex for me to pursue. In the same way I longed for the simplicity of a pole, line, hook, and worm to go fishing, I longed for simplicity in evangelism. I didn’t need a new strategy or program, I just needed permission to stand on the shore and throw the line into the water.

If you ask me today if I do evangelism, my honest answer is “yes.” I’m no Billy Graham, I’m not standing on street corners with a bull horn, I’m not distributing tracts or flyers, and I’m not the featured speaker at a crusade. But I am engaging with a lot of new people, I am asking them questions, I am listening to them, I am just being their friend, and I’m actually having conversations about Jesus.

I needed permission to simplify my understanding and practice of evangelism. Perhaps you, too, need such permission. I’m a pastor. I’m giving you permission!! Get a pole, line, hook, worm, stand on the shore, and throw out in the water a little bit. Let me know when you catch something!

Fuel in Your Bus

You’ve likely heard of the amazing gift to the Morehouse College class of 2019. Billionaire technology investor Robert Smith announced at the graduation ceremony that he and his family would make a grant to the university that would pay off ALL the student loans of this year’s graduating class … a gift estimated at around $40,000,000.00.

If you haven’t watched a video of his announcement I’d encourage you to search for it and simply watch the stunned look on everyone’s faces. This was obviously beyond anyone’s wildest dreams; no way would any sane person expect such abundant generosity and love. The amazement on everyone’s faces soon turned to cheers, tears, and celebration. Several of the recipients noted that they felt liberated, set free, that a huge burden had been taken away, and they were now free to pursue the future without being bound by debt. Many had debts of 50, 80, 100 thousand dollars or more … gone, erased, taken care of, paid in full due to one man’s action.

I love the words that accompanied the announcement of the gift. He said, “On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus.” He goes on to say, “I’m counting on you to load up that bus.” He fully expects every graduate to “pay it forward” and make a difference in the lives of others.

Imagine for a minute that someone paid off ALL your debt, that you have been set free, that the burden has been lifted from you, and you’re now free to pursue the future without being enslaved to the fact you had to pay back someone. Imagine how grateful you would be to the person who paid that debt, how you would want to make his name known to others, how you would find ways to serve him, and how you would be motivated to serve others because of his incredible generosity and love.

Wait … someone DID do that for those of us who know Christ. The debt has been paid in full, Jesus has put fuel in our bus, and it’s now our privilege to make His name known to the world and load up that bus with others. As Jesus Christ has love us, let us love others. As Jesus Christ has extended grace to us, let us extend grace to others. Let us glorify the Name of the One who has extended such amazing grace to us!

Questions About Our Future

It’s happening more and more. Famous people I grew up watching and admiring are dying. Peggy Lipton of the late 60’s, early 70’s show “Mod Squad” passed away on May 11. Tim Conway, who made all of us laugh especially with his role on the “Carol Burnett Show” during its 1967-78 run, died on May 14. In between those two was the passing of 97 year old actress Doris Day on May 13. Though her film and music career began back in the late 30’s, she was extremely successful during the 50’s and 60’s. But I best remember her in “The Doris Day Show” during the late 60’s and early 70’s. She may be best known for the song “Que Sera, Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).

As a young boy I recall hearing and liking this song. I’m sure the fact that Doris Day was pretty didn’t hurt my opinion! I haven’t really thought about this song until I learned of her death and heard the song on the news. If you’re not familiar with it, here are the lyrics. (by Jay Livingstone / Ray Evans)

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Here's what she said to me

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart, what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows
Day after day
Here's what my sweetheart said

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, what will I be
Will I be handsome
Will I be rich
I tell them tenderly

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

At the heart of the song is a young girl asking: what will I be? … what lies ahead? … and then her kids asking her the same … what will I be? Those are legitimate questions we’re still asking. But it’s interesting that in this song there’s an expectation of being pretty, rich, having rainbows day after day, and being handsome. Sure, the lyrics indicate we don’t really know and can only ultimately say, “Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see” but the fact the questions of being pretty, rich, handsome, and endless rainbows indicates that was the anticipated way of life.

We should still think about the future and ask, “What will I be?” and “What lies ahead?” Great questions. But I suspect more people today are asking follow up questions more like, “Will I be able to land and keep a good job?” “Will I be cancer free?” “Will I be a victim of violent crime?” “Will my marriage survive?” “Will I be able to enjoy retirement?” “Will my children turn out okay?” “Will I end up being medicated for depression?” And as Christians we ask other questions like, “Will I always wrestle with this same sin?” “Will I continue to be faithful in serving the Lord or fall away like others I know?” “Will I learn to forgive others as Christ has forgiven me?” “Will Americans continue to enjoy the religious freedoms we’ve enjoyed for so long?”

The fact is that life is hard and we realistically know that instead of beauty, wealth, and endless rainbows we should expect difficulties. But at the same time, we have the hope that God is good and actively involved in our lives. He demonstrated this on the cross. Jesus actually says it well in John 16:33 - “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

What question are you wrestling with as it relates to your future? We can say much more than “whatever will be, will be.” We don’t have to resign ourselves to fatalism, determinism, stoicism, or chance. We can rest and rejoice in a personal God who is actively working all things to His own glory and our good.

We Need the PCB

This past week I had the privilege and joy of meeting with several other pastors in the annual Bangladesh Partnership meeting, this year hosted by Briarwood here in B’ham. Brothers from Montana, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Asia gathered to discuss how we can better support, encourage, and partner with the Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh (PCB).

I was first introduced to the PCB by Bill Nikides, another missionary CPC has supported for a number of years. Bill is still actively involved in the Bangladesh work, as well as several other countries where his expertise in missiology is needed. I remember him giving me several compelling reasons why this work was important for Community to get involved in. But one comment he made really stood out … he said something along the lines of “the PCB doesn’t need us as much as we need the PCB.” … and he was so right! While the PCB truly does benefit from the involvement of the US churches, I can personally attest to the fact that I have benefited far more than any contribution I can even conceive of making. Yes, that happened once again during this most recent meeting. Allow me to explain.

Though the finances of the partnership are in really good shape, every report often needs some explanation, especially when money is involved. One question involved an apparent shortfall in the budget. As the explanation was given it was apparent there was actually a surplus. But the explanation provided an opportunity to explain a very different perspective on money, budgets, salaries, ministry, etc. In our way of doing things here in the US, we would typically cut most any budget item before we cut a person’s salary. But in Bangladesh they would see the shortfall as a blessing and not hesitate to cut salaries, including the pastor’s. Their understanding is that it is God’s way of helping the pastor examine his heart, to determine whether he is in the ministry for personal / material / financial gain or in it for the sake of Jesus. While a few Bengali pastors have left the job because they didn’t get paid, the large majority persevere in the midst of this suffering, shortfall, want, and stress. They count it joy to be tested in this manner and gladly continue in ministry, believing that what they are doing has eternal significance and isn’t contingent on how much money they have in the bank that month.

So as I transition into a ministry where I have to raise my own support I’m greatly challenged by these Bengali brothers who so willingly persevere even when they lack proper financing. I often find myself more concerned about money than the unbeliever I’m seeking to reach out to. I often get anxious and worried about the possibility of not raising enough support. I frequently lack faith in God’s provision, faithfulness, and sufficiency. I often seek to impose my standards on what I expect God to do rather than trust Him for daily bread. Yes, I know I have the responsibility raise adequate support. I have financial obligations, bills to pay, a family to support, and a future to consider. But I long for the faith of these PCB pastors who are willing to faithfully serve Christ regardless!

Please join me in praying for the PCB. This church faces more daily obstacles than we likely ever will in our entire lifetime. Pray for their safety in the face of persecution, for church planting efforts, for finances, for leadership development, and for many conversions among the Bangladesh peoples. Also, pray for me to have faith as I press deeper into the ministry of evangelism.

What's Your Mission?

Hopefully you were able to participate in this past weekend’s missions events. Both Saturday night and Sunday morning we were treated with reports and updates from various missionaries. So much good stuff … so many things to process … so many things to pray for. Not only did we hear from missionaries this past weekend, but the prior Sunday we heard from John and Prisy Stodghill. And to continue with a missions emphasis, Community will participate in this week’s Bangladesh Partnership meeting in B’ham to support the work of the Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. If you’re like me the question at this point is, “Where do I go from here?”

Surely work the Stodghills do with Muslims is an incredible and important work. You mustn’t underestimate the significance of the training Brad Taylor gives to pastors in South America, Africa, and India. Nobody would suggest that the work Lifeline does to support and build families is not of great importance. Don’t forget the amazing ministry Raul Pacheco has with International students at Troy University. Laura Morgan’s support and encouragement of missionaries around the world is extremely needed and beneficial. Adam Venable’s work on the campus of UAB is reaching students that will impact the world in so many ways. The Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh is enjoying healthy growth in the 8th most populated nation in the world. My work in evangelism puts me on the front line with unbelievers and also in a place to train other pastors and churches.

So which of these ministries / missionaries is doing the most important work? Which mission should you focus on and devote yourself to? Which mission work has the most potential to change the world?

Are you thoroughly confused yet? Most Christians are when it comes to missions. We know we should be doing something mission related but don’t know exactly what. So, we wait until we have a clearer vision. Maybe we should go overseas … or perhaps get involved in a local mission … or likely get some training before we do anything … or probably before we do anything we need to spend a season praying and seeking counsel … or maybe we should just get plugged in to something the church is already doing … yet there are so many other needs in the community and world … so we wait a bit longer for the vision to become clearer and THEN we’ll start. The vision thing ends up taking too long to figure out, so we wait some more. This cycle repeats itself over and over and we seldom actually ever get around to doing mission work, but hopefully one day we will. It’s sort of a paralysis by analysis type thing. I’m really not trying to be too hard on anyone, but just stating the reality of how the average Christian processes the idea of mission.

So the question remains, “Where do we go from here?” I’d suggest a couple of really simple things. The first is whatever you’re involved in today is what and where God has called you. You really don’t have to wait around for a clearer vision of loving your neighbor, serving your co-worker, encouraging your fellow student, greeting a stranger, showing grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it, offering support to the broken-hearted, being merciful to the poor, helping to bring justice to the oppressed, announcing the good news of Jesus to the unbeliever, etc. Whatever is in front of you today is your God-ordained mission field and you are God’s ambassador. So press forward in your weakness, uncertainty, fear, insecurity, and timidity yet know that God uses such people to accomplish the amazing work of mission. I assure you that every missionary you admire wrestles with the exact same issues of feeling weak and insignificant. But Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth repeatedly reminds us that his weakness provides the context for God’s strength to be displayed. The second suggestion is also simple … let God handle the big vision thing. Perhaps He will call some of us to go overseas. Perhaps He will mobilize some of us to be more involved in local community missions. Perhaps He will lead some of us to get more training. But I contend that as we’re engaged in doing daily mission where we already are, those bigger vision related issues seem to just come … not naturally, but rather super-naturally through the work of the Holy Spirit.

So today, engage in ministry where you are. God has some divine appointments already scheduled for you throughout the day. Don’t neglect them.

Painting in the House

We’re beginning the process of some much needed painting inside the Boykin home. When I say “we” I actually mean Chris Frank. But, come to think of it, I am doing some of the prep work of cleaning, patching a few holes, etc. so I’m going to stick with the “we” comment.

Moving furniture around reveals how much dirt and trash accumulates over time. Yuk. Glad it’s all going to be cleaned and have a fresh coat of paint. Chris does a great job (see hallways around the nursery/MDO area at church) and I’m looking forward to the upgrade in the appearance, look, and feel of our home. It’ll be a great improvement over the current condition.

As excited as I am about this, I remember being just as excited years ago when we last painted. There was a part of me back then that felt, “surely this will be the thing that gives us long-term satisfaction.” And even now, there’s a part of me that thinks, “After this paint job, we’re going to keep this place clean and may never have to paint again.” I know that’s not true, but I do sort of think it. Deep down I know that home ownership is a never-ending process of cleaning, maintaining, upgrading, repairing, painting, etc. but I also cling to a false hope that I won’t have to do it again after this time.

Too often I approach Christianity in this same way. I do some cleaning, straightening, rearranging, repair a few bad spots, put on a fresh coat of paint, and somehow think this is what pleases God. Then soon I realize it didn’t exactly work out like I hoped it would so I repeat the process and again convince myself that this time I was serious about it and probably won’t have to struggle the dirt, filth, stain, and decay of sin again. Basically, and unfortunately, I live out the Christian life by just cleaning up and covering over my sin with a fresh coat of “doing something for Jesus” and think everything is going to be okay.

Just last Sunday we celebrated Easter. And though we recognize the importance of Jesus’ resurrection every week by worshipping on Sunday, Easter really presses us to consider the resurrection and how it impacts our lives. The beauty of the resurrection is that we don’t have to just manage our sin, clean it up a bit, and put on a fresh coat of obedience to make ourselves look better. As Christians, because we’re in union with Christ, when He was raised to new life, so were we. Here’s how Paul described the Christian life to believers in Rome … and these words are just as true for us today as they were back then.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. - Romans 6:2-10

And if that’s not clear enough, Paul said this to the church in Colossae:

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. - Colossians 2:11-13

Christianity isn’t a remodeling or upgrading way of life. Rather, it’s a demolition and new construction project that God has worked in us through His Son, Jesus Christ. I trust you who “were also raised with him …” had a great Easter and that the significance of Jesus’ and your own resurrection and new life in Him is the controlling thought of your day.

A Cathedral in Flames

Many of us this past week watched coverage of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on fire. We were shocked and even horrified by the images. Even though we’re not Catholic we felt pain over the thought of losing such a majestic building. We know that Catholicism is full of error and false teachings and that genuine Christianity is not in any way tied to a building, no matter how magnificent. So why did this tragedy have such a powerful effect on us Protestant Gospel-minded folks?

I suspect there are at least a couple of reasons that we mourn the destruction and even rejoice that the building was not completely destroyed. The first is our longing for beauty. Catholic or not, we must all admit the Cathedral of Notre-Dame was a stunningly beautiful work of art. The image of God in us seeks and appreciates this beauty. In my evangelism work I’m discovering that many are using tattoos to introduce beauty into what they would consider an ugly world. Architecture is certainly a means of lifting our hearts and eyes upward towards majesty, transcendence, and glory. Yes, again, we know the church isn’t necessarily linked to a building, but if something is beautiful it speaks of a Creator who made all things good.

The second reason for our sorrow regarding this fire is the sense of loss. Deep down we all want permanence, we want things to last, we’re weary of feeling that life is so transitory. This cathedral was dedicated in 1345, so for nearly 700 years this building has been in place and, in some ways, has helped define Western culture. And even though it wasn’t a complete loss and will surely be repaired to some degree, it will never again be what it was. We would feel the same way if an Egyptian pyramid was leveled, if the Taj Mahal burned down, or if the Great Wall of China was bulldozed. This is why we fight even in our local communities to see historic buildings protected and preserved. We want things to last!

Please don’t think I’m trying to use this event as an object lesson … that nothing is permanent except for God and the Bible. I appreciate the words of Christian architect David Gruesel, “Only a true Philistine could say of the fire, ‘Ah, it was just a bunch of wood and shingles and some pointy spire.’” It’s truly nothing less than a tragedy.

Yet as those who do trust in Christ, we have, in Him, the two things for which we long - beauty and permanence. Especially this week of remembering Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection we behold once again the beauty of His perfect life of obedience and atoning death on the cross. We’re comforted that our lives are given permanence, even unto eternity, because of His death and resurrection. So because we already truly possess what our hearts long for, let us mourn well the destruction of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Let us pray that this beautiful work of art may be restored and once again speak of God’s beauty in a dark and broken world.

Lessons from Cousin Sara

Seth and I are down in Florida for most of this week doing some work with Evangelize Today. So far it’s been a great trip and we’re expecting it to continue that way. But while I’m down here I wanted to run by and see one of my cousins, Sara Elder. She’s about 23 years older than me and has been having some serious health issues the past several months. Not too long ago she had her right leg amputated just below the knee. She’s now having problems with the other leg and said today that there’s a possibility some or all of her toes may have to be amputated.

Sara has been telling me for years that when she dies I’m going to do her funeral. Her deceased husband, Tim Elder, was a PCA pastor, so she respects the fact that I’m a pastor as well. Though she’s currently in a nursing home / rehab facility, her home is in Liberty County, FL where my mom’s family is from. In her own unique way, Sara has been a blessing to us cousins and has helped facilitate much communication and interaction among the family. But she’s hurting right now. Not sure how things will progress with her health wise, but today she blessed me spiritually with some very simple things I want to share.

The first involves her old worn and tattered Bible which has gone missing in the midst of all her moving from home to hospital to rehab to home, back to hospital to rehab, etc. She’s thinking one of her kids may have something to do with that because they recently bought her a new Bible and I suppose want her to start using it! She prefers her old familiar one and hope it turns up soon. In this conversation she made this statement - “The only Bible you need is the one you read.” When I heard this I thought it was rather profound. Many of you may be like me and have a dozen Bibles laying all around, but I think her point is simple … Bibles are meant to be read, not collected. It’s honestly not that impressive to have the latest, best, biggest, nicest Bible if you’re not going to read it. “The only Bible you need is the one you read.”

She also talked about how several people have questioned her about when she’s going to go back home. In the course of speaking of God’s providence, specifically as it relates to her surgeries and ailments, she told me that many years ago when she agreed to “follow Jesus,” she forgot to mention to Him that her commitment didn’t include hospitals or rehab facilities. Obviously using humor, she reminded me that she’s willing to follow Him wherever He takes her, and if it’s into loss and suffering and discomfort then that’s where she’ll willingly go.

I pray for Sara. I admire her faith. I appreciate her desire for God’s Word and submission to His will. I want to be like that!