Friday, April 21, 2017

Tribute to a Dear Friend: Glen Paden

The Gospel of John tells us: “Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47) I’d like to share with you briefly about a man I knew in whom there was no deceit. His name is Glen Paden. If I could have shared at his memorial service here is what I would have said.

Glen Paden was one of the finest, godliest Christian gentlemen I have ever known. He was, in every way, a gentleman — kind to all, gracious to everyone with whom he came in contact. Though he was short in stature he was a giant among those who knew him. When I had the privilege of appointing a task force to study our California Southern Baptist Convention I knew the man we had to have as the Chairman was Glen. He gave the group instant credibility. No one could question his love for our CSBC and his desire to honor God in the decisions that were made.

Glen was also a theologian. From the time I first knew him, he was enormously encouraging to me as a friend and as a pastor. On many occasions we had the joy of discussing sound biblical theology as friend to friend and always found great pleasure in rejoicing together for the grace of God in our lives.

Glen was a model father and grandfather. He was in every good sense a godly patriarch of his family. He loved them deeply and always looked out for their best interests. I have had the privilege of having his grandson Joey as my son-in-law now for six years. I can only say that I hope to have half the close relationship with my grandchildren that Glen had with Joey. Joey admired his granddad and treasured their closeness. He always sought his wisdom in difficult decisions and gladly accepted his advice. My daughter Hannah came to look at him as her granddad also. She loved him and knew of his deep love for her. I am so grateful to Glen for the way he welcomed her into the family.

Glen was a giver. Years ago when I was playing golf with my friend Doug Metzger he let me hit a few shots with a new 3-wood that he had found. I asked where he got it and he said it was one just like Glen Paden had. Later I decided to try to find one online. I wrote Glen and asked for the specs on his 3-wood so I could look for one just like it. To my surprise his 3-wood arrived in the mail just a couple of days later. What a giving heart!!!

So with great sadness that we’ll never be able to talk again this side of heaven I am so thankful to God that my life crossed many paths with Glen Paden. I am a better man for having known him. To God be the glory!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Saints Together

READ 1 Corinthians 1-2
February 23, 2016

Again, as so often happens in my readings, one word grabs me and stops me cold with implications that are profound. It happened this morning in v.2.

“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”

Before I move on, do you think you can pick out the word that stopped me this morning? Could it be church, sanctified, saints, Lord, Jesus or Christ? Well, all of those would have been great ones to meditate on for a while, but none of them is the word this morning. No, the word that stopped me was “together.” Actually the whole phrase must be included. Paul said that he was writing to a group of Christians who were “called to be saints together.” Immediately my thinking went to the church born out of the Day of Pentecost in the 2nd chapter of Acts. Luke tells us, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” (Acts 2:44)

That’s it. That’s the church! We are not called to be saints in isolation; we are called to be saints together. Why? Because we really do need one other. We must love one another and build up one another and be kind to one another and bear one another’s burdens and all the other one anothers of the Bible. The church is the context in which we live out these wonderful, encouraging commands.

So let’s do it. Let’s be a part of one another’s lives and live together in love and harmony in the Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank you that in your marvelous plan for us you gave us the church. Though we know that each of us is an imperfect saint we know that in your grace we can build up one another. Help us to consider others as more important than ourselves and to be the body of Christ to one another.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some truths are just too big for our minds to fully comprehend

READ John 17-18

Who did Jesus pray for in the upper room? Let’s see what he says. In 17:9 he clearly states that he is not praying for the world. Rather he is praying for those whom the Father has given him. So this prayer is only for those who were a gift from the Father to the Son before the foundation of the world.

Does this include more than the apostles? See 17:20. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” So, if he is only praying for those who were a gift from the Father and this prayer includes all who will believe based on the words of the Apostles, then he is praying for every believer today. And that means… every believer today was a gift from the Father to the Son before the foundation of the world.

Jesus has given eternal life to everyone the Father gave him. (17:3)
Jesus manifests the Father’s name, i.e. who he really is, to those whom the Father gave him. (17:6)
Jesus prays for those whom the Father gave him. (17:9)
Jesus asks the Father to keep those whom he has given him after his ascension. (17:11)
Jesus wants those whom the Father has given him to be with him through eternity. (17:24)

Think about who you are in Christ, friends! Glory!

Prayer: Father, it is a bit mind-boggling for us to contemplate that you chose us and presented us as a love gift to your Son before all of creation. Before we existed in time and space, we were chosen as a part of your forever family and presented by you to your Son. And he came to die for us and bear the penalty of our sin. Father, this is too big for us. Help thou our unbelief!

Monday, January 25, 2016 the midst of the storm...right now

READ John 15-16

Where is the source of our peace? When we are faced with difficult times, difficult situations, difficult people — where do we turn to for peace? Do we turn to medication to mask our discomfort? Do we turn to other people for their comfort? Where do we turn?

Jesus makes it clear that our peace is in him. It is not to be found in this world. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (16:33) We are to rest in him and the certainty of our life in him for our peace.

Remember the Gospel. We were under the curse of the tribulation of our own sin. Christ died bearing all those sins in his own body on the cross. His death redeemed us from our sin. He rose from the dead displaying his full victory over the final enemy death and verifying exactly who he is as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. One day he is coming to take us to where he is for eternity. Peace…in the midst of tribulations…in the midst of the storm…right now.

Prayer: Father, help me to face the tribulation of this world in the peaceful grasp of my loving Savior. Help me father, to trust you, and not the situations that I face. Help me to rest in you.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Walking Home in Faith

READ John 3-4

My curiosity often comes into play as I read the Bible because of things we are not told. Obviously, these are things that are not necessary for us to know in order to understand, but they are still things that spark our curiosity. Such is the case as I read the story of the official’s son being healed in 4:46-54. At this point in the gospel of John Jesus has only done one miracle. He turned the water to wine at the wedding in Cana (2:11). Now in Chapter 4 he returns again to Cana and does his second miracle (4:54).

Here are the events recorded. He arrives in Cana. An official with a sick son lives in Capernaum about 7-8 hours walking distance away at the least. The official comes to Cana to ask Jesus to heal his son. So here’s where my curiosity peaks. First, in a town that far away how did he even know that Jesus had returned to Galilee? Second, had Jesus’ reputation spread that much already simply from the one miracle at the wedding? Did the man know Jesus only as a possible miracle worker? (This is highly likely based on 4:48) It’s not hard to imagine the father of a dying son being willing to go wherever was needed for his child’s welfare, but what were the circumstances that prompted him to walk all the way to Cana?

But there is another greater truth hinted at in the man’s behavior. Jesus told him his son was healed at 1:00 in the afternoon. The Bible says that he “believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.” (4:50) Notice, when his servants came to tell him his son was healed he was still traveling and it was the next day (see 52). If he was uncertain, he would probably have rushed back and made the 7-8 trip in a few hours the same day. But, evidently, he was in no hurry? Why? Here’s where we see his faith manifested. He was walking the unhurried walk of a man who believed Jesus.

I’m reminded of later in John when Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God; believe also in me.” (14:1) Troubles will surely come, but we don’t have to be troubled when we believe Jesus.

Prayer: Father, help me to be like that official. Help me always to come to you with every need of life. Help me always to turn to you first for your divine help. And help me to trust in you and live reflecting that calm trust in you.