Important Things

When a young girl loses her father, her future wedding day can be a sad reminder of her pain and loss. I read an article today on Foxnews.com that brought tears to my eyes as one family came up with an idea to address this expected tragedy. Jason Halbert was given only eleven to fifteen months to live because he has an aggressive form of cancer that is sure to take his life. His two daughters, now eighteen-years-old and sixteen-years-old, had always dreamed of dancing with their father on their wedding day. Now, that will never happen.

The family decided to get wedding dresses for the girls and shoot video footage of the girls’ wedding dance with their dad. They plan to show the video one day at their weddings.

The story broke my heart to think about what this family must be going through, but it also made me stop to think about the fact that we’re all terminal. We should be living each day to its fullest knowing that no one is promised tomorrow. We never know when we’ll live our last day on earth, so we need to make each day count.

Maybe we should quit spending so much energy and time on activities that really do not matter when eternity is in view. It makes me think about the people I need to hug or the person I need to tell about Jesus. Of all of the things you’re going to do today, which of them really matters? Maybe, we should avoid some of the things on our to do list and add some other items that didn’t make the cut. Our deaths are a reality. Are you getting ready for it?

I think I’ll make a list of important things I must do before I die and start working on it. Somewhere near the top will be a dance with my daughters.

Things You Should Know if you Live in the South

I’m currently preaching a series on the Sermon on the Mount called “Essentials.” In my opening comments from last Sunday, I shared a few essential things someone should know if they’re going to live in the south. Here’s my list:

  • You should know the difference between poison ivy & kudzu.
  • You should know the best place to go to get sweet tea (when you don’t want to make it yourself.)
  • You should know that real men eat grits.
  • You should know that if you’re going to put something in grits, it should either be your spoon or shrimp.
  • You should know that you don’t have a hissy fit. You pitch one.
  • You should know that if it snows, don’t put chains on your tires. Stay home.
  • You should know that Sunday is for church, but Saturday is for football.

What would you add to the list?

Cry for Hope

“That’s depressing.” Have you ever said those two words? I’ve watched U.S. politics lately and found myself frustrated, angry, and discouraged. I may have even said that certain events or reactions have been “depressing.” As we move toward what seems like an all-out war between presidential candidates, I find myself shaking my head and dreading the next year. While events may get me down, am I really depressed?

Over seven percent of American adults will experience depression this year and fifteen percent will struggle with depression at some point in their lives. Over three million young people between the ages of twelve and seventeen have experienced at least one depressive episode this year. Sadly, I think we’ll see these numbers growing in the years to come. Why? Why are we struggling with depression as a culture?

Depression can come from a variety of places in a person’s life. It may result from chemical imbalances, physical or emotional trauma, or cultural challenges. Regardless of its source, depression is both promoted by and fed from feelings of hopelessness. While counselors can offer several solutions, one key solution is hope. I’m so grateful for gifted therapists and counselors, and I am most grateful for the God of all hope.

The great news I have is that we find hope in Jesus Christ. God spoke words of encouragement to a troubled nation in Jeremiah 29:11. These words also have great application to us today: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Do you struggle with depression today? As you reach out for hope, I encourage you to reach out to God. He will walk with you through your darkness to help you find the brightness of His presence.