Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of the World As We Know It

Today was supposed to be the end of the world.

Or something like that.

A Christian evangelist somehow predicted, using mathematical equations and numerical codes he says he found in the Bible, that Jesus would return to earth, and Judgement Day would begin, today, May 21st 2001, at 6pm local time, wherever you are.

My faith tells me, if Jesus were to return, I'd be ready and, should the rapture occur as some predict, I hope I'd be among those taken.  It's almost 7pm in Calfornia and I'm writing this, soooooooo ...... either it didn't happen, or I've been left behind.

I haven't seen any news stories or heard from any friends who are missing loved ones, so I'm betting on the latter.

Which leads me to the point of this post: a small but distinct part of me is letting out a quiet sigh of relief.


As soon as I read about this supposed prophecy some months ago, a small part of me naturally went straight to thinking "hmmmm what if?"

What if Jesus did return today?

I mean, the teaching about Jesus' return is not outlandish in the Christian belief.  In fact, it's a core hope that all Christians should hold dear: a time when Christians will see the Lord Himself, and God will set all things right with the world.  Literally.

But I have to ask, only because I ask this of myself:  am I, and if you are a Christian are you, disappointed that The End is not here? Are you disappointed that Jesus did not return (which is perhaps the most glorious thing a Christian can look forward to), or did you, as I find myself doing, uttering a quite sigh of relief?

Ask yourself that question, and look deep down inside where we only admit the truth to ourselves.  I'm will to bet that many of your reading this feel the same way I do.  I feel kinda like this was a very small, insignificant bullet that was very unlikely to ever strike it's target, but I managed to dodge it.

Hence.... whew

But I can't help but think, as a Christian, this is not how I should feel.

Paul said in Philippians 1:21-24, "for to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better.  Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ.  I really don't know which is better.  I'm torn between two desires: sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ.  That would be far better for me, but it is better for you that I live."

Do I "long to go be with Christ"?

Do you?

Jesus said to be ready at any time for his return.  In fact, he said to be vigilant, which means not only to be ready, but to be watchfully expectant; to live as if His return was imminent on any given day.

This day of failed prediction has certainly not shaken my faith, but it has been a cause for reflection and thought.  Jesus will return someday, of that I'm certain.  I hope He finds me, and you, faithful and ready when He really does come.

The Book of Revelation ends with this statement:  "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus, come. "

Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus, come, and find me faithful.

Ellis Latrell

Oh my gosh! It actually happened!!!

No, not the end of the world.

My grandson was born!!!!!

My first grandchild, Ellis Latrell Matthews made his entrance into the world on Thursday, May 19th, 2011, at around 11:13am.   He weighed in at a whopping 5lbs, 8oz, and 18.5 inches long. After a short time of concern over his blood sugar levels, he learned to eat, and now baby, mommy, and daddy are doing just great.  If all goes well, he and mommy should be headed home tonight.

Emily's mom, Cathy,  made the trip out from Virginia, and was here to celebrate the birth with our oldest daughter.  Alene and I, along Cathy and Cameron, were in the waiting room, waiting for word on the birth.  When daddy Nacakta came out and said Ellis is born, we asked "how big is he?"

Nacakta held his hands a little ways apart and said, "about this big."

Gah! Details, man, details!

Here's some photos from the blessed event.

Cathy, momma Emily, and Mike, with the new baby. 

Momma Emily and daddy Nacakta. 

Alene and momma Emily. 

Grandpa and grandson. He's so tiny!

Grandma Alene and grandson. 

"Let me sleep, would ya?"
So, I post this chronicle of new birth on the day when one man proclaimed the end would begin.  The day has passed, uneventfully.  God is still faithful, He is still in His heaven, and He is still on the job, loving and guiding us as He has for at least several millennium, if not billions of years.  

Welcome Ellis Latrell.  I'm betting the years of your life will likely be eventful and full.  I pray that they are.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Another Weekend.....

This weekend Alene and I actually had some time to ourselves.  About three hours, to be exact.  I had to work Saturday, which is my normal work day.  Alene spent her Saturday at Serendipity Saturday with the women at church, and doing some chores of her own, but after we both got home around 4:30pm, we looked at each other and said, "What do you want to do tonight?"

Sitting comfortably on the couch, feet up, shoes off, I said, "I'm pretty much doing it, baby." 

So I barbecued some chicken, Alene cooked some artichokes, baked beans, bread, and made some salad. We  had a wonderful, quiet dinner.  

Yes, we were in bed, sleeping by about 8:30. 

Sunday was a lovely day.  Our church held a nice, unique, "all church" Lord's Supper celebration, with all services combined into one for a short duration.  The point was to celebrate as a unified body - not unified necessarily in age or style of worship, but certainly in purpose.  It was good to be reminded that we are a diverse body, but we are one body in Christ. 

My parents, who try to come to our church when we celebrate the Lord's Supper, made it in time to celebrate with us, only to turn around and drive home through the pouring hail.  Mom said it looked like snow collecting of her windshield.  That seemed to be a common theme across the region as the thunderstorms rolled through. 

This is mid-May, right?

After church I met up with my friends John and Bryan to play some pool at the Corner Pocket.  I should probaby say "tried to play pool" because I'm just awful at it, but anywho.... Bryan turns 40 today, and John was tasked with getting Bryan out of the house while his wife set up a surprise party for him at home.  We had a good time, joking around and making fun of the dreadful music people order up on the jukebox.  We agreed a country bar might be more our speed.  Bryan was suitably surprised when we got him home, and the day seemed to be a success.  

After that Alene and I headed back to church to attend the end-of-the-year AWANA ceremony.  My "niece" Shawna, who is my best-friend's daughter, is a Cubbie, and I've been to each of her year-end ceremonies, so I couldn't miss this one.  She is such a sweet child.  I've known her since she was literally 3-days old.

After getting home, Alene and I curled up in bed to watch our favorite show "Army Wives".  Joke as you will  about my manhood and whatnot - its a darned good show.  And I'll say this: any time a husband can snuggle with his wife, enjoy a good program with her that we both like,  and be emotional together over such a simple story - yes we sometimes cry like babies, then laugh at our crying - that's a very good thing for the relationship. 

And its fun. I think laughter through tears is probably one of the most powerful and moving experiences one can have.  Sharing it, even over such a simple thing, is a big blessing to us both.  

So we stayed up late last night, getting to be a little after 9pm.  The late night partying has to stop, or Alene and I are going to wear out! 

Today, as I type, I'm preparing for my day at jury duty.  I suspect that I will be removed due to circumstances that I will be able to talk about later, but as all my friends tell me, ya just never know.  I will be happy to serve if selected, because I am honestly fascinated by the justice system, but I'm also hoping to be booted because Emily is due to give birth so soon, and I'd had to be tied up in a court-room!

What to do, what to do.  

Well - oh my, I'm watching TV and seeing video about the flooding in Louisiana now.  Pray for these people, if you think of them.  Opening those flood gates creates a man-made flood, destroying some homes in small towns in favor of saving more homes in larger towns.  What a horrible choice to have to make, and an even harder choice to accept if your home is in the flood zone.  

God Bless you all today.  Remember, our highest calling is to love one another, deeply, from the heart. 

Let's go do that.