Simeon Monologue

Tonight at church I read this monologue I wrote from the perspective of Simeon from the book of Luke.  I hope it's a blessing to you.

I remember everything about that day.It was just any other day.It’s one that I had experienced many times before, but this time was different.You would think at my age I would have done and seen it all, but never had I seen this.I entered the temple, just like I had hundreds or thousands of times before.Some would say I spent most of my time there, but where else should an old man wait for the Messiah?
It had been been a long time since I had heard that word from the Lord.The word that I would live long enough to see the Messiah.It had been long enough that I had was wondering if I was maybe beginning to doubt. But nevertheless I went to the temple like I had so many times before.
There was a large strapping Jewish man, with a smile as wide as the Eastern Gates.He seemed to be a friend to everyone he saw, and everyone was glad to see him.“Surely this m…

The Painful Pruning

It had been a beautiful day!  I was sad to see it go.  In fact it had been a really beautiful year.  As long as I could remember it had been sunny and bright. There was always plenty of food, and I was well taken care of.  Granted, I was only a year or so old so I can't remember that much, but my life at the vineyard was a good one.  I had grown a lot during this year, that's for sure.  I started off as a little seedling, but I grew quickly up the trellis along with the other vines around me.  We all had grown, though I think my leaves were a little more fuller and my branches a bit thicker, if I do say so myself.

I had noticed something though. The sun was still shining, but not as long it seemed. The days were getting shorter, and the vine dresser seemed to be pre occupied with other tasks these days.  I could tell he was getting ready for something but I couldn't tell what. The other young vines around me didn't know either, though some had heard whispers of somethi…

Another Ordinary Sunday

I remember it like it was last week.The Sunday started just like any other Sunday I went up early to turn on the lights and make sure the heat was on, like I always do.As the morning moved along, we had a great time of worship through song.As someone prayed I moved towards the pulpit and looked out over the congregation I was eager to see how God was going to move that day. The sermon was from Matthew 12, about the dangers of an empty heart.If we don't fill our hearts with Jesus, they will be filled with something else.After the sermon I gave an invitation and a few people came down to pray.I gave a few closing announcements, and the service was over.Some people hung around to talk about Christmas decorations, or plans for lunch, or whatever was on their mind. There was no tears of repentance, there was no great movement of God. People worshipped God through song, through the study of His Word, and through fellowship with other believers.That Sunday, in every sense of the word, wa…

How Should Christians Respond to the Death of the Wicked?

This morning the news of the death of Charles Manson might have caught some by surprise.  In the late 1960's Manson and his followers gained national notoriety after several murders, most notably the actress Sharon Tate.  Manson believed in something he called "Helter Skelter," and was attempting to start an apocalyptic race war.  His beliefs were cobbled together from all over, places as different as Beatles Songs and the biblical book of Revelation.  Manson was convicted of several first degree murders, among other things, and was sentenced to death. After California ended the death penalty his sentence was commuted to life in prison. Over the years Manson gave several wild interviews on television, sometimes appearing with a swastika carved in his forehead.  He never expressed remorse for his actions, and was caught several times with drugs or contraband in prison.Suffice it to say, he was not a good man.
How are Christians supposed to think about the death of a man wh…

Strangers in the small church

Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and [a]the alien who is in your [b]town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 31:12
The people of FBC Sutherland Springs gathered yesterday for church just like they had for decades and decades.  By now you know how the story ended.  In a terrible, tragic, act of evil that is beyond words a man walked into the church and killed over 20 people there to worship.  Those who died ranged in age from 5 to 72. It’s the deadliest mass shooting at a church in history.  It’s crazy that there is even a category for “mass shootings at a church.”  
If you go to FBC Sutherland Springs Youtube page you can watch the services over the past several weeks.  The church looks just like dozens of churches that I have been over the years.  Churches this size make up the majority of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the majority of churches in America.  Chanc…

Big Data and the Holy Spirit

It has happened to me, and I bet that it has happened to you.  As I mindlessly scroll through Facebook, I saw it,  There was an ad for something that I had been looking at a day before on Amazon. Maybe it was eBay or Amazon,  or  it could've been Facebook or Twitter.  It's easy to get the feeling that we are being watched, and we feel that way  because we are.  You are always being watched.  Corporations like Facebook and Amazon are always collecting data on you.  Everywhere you go on the internet they are collecting data.  They know about your shopping habits, about your diet needs, and about your special love for all things 90's.  That is why you see these ads everywhere.  It's called targeted advertising.  It's as if someone followed you around Walmart keeping track of everything you looked, everything you picked up and put down, and then suggested items to you that might be interested in.  if you are like me, there have been times I have just thought about som…

To the one who feels forgotten

If someone asks who your father is, you can probably answer that. That’s not that impressive.You can probably name your grandfather also.How about your great grandfather?“Grampa Holmes” is all I know, but I know if I dug around some in an old bible I could find it.How about your great great grandfather?Now it’s getting harder.Could you name your great-great-great grandfather?Unless you have an account on a genealogy website, you are pretty much done after going back 1 or 2 generations.
In a world where so many are focused on getting their 15 minutes a fame, it’s a sobering reminder that most of the people in the world will be forgotten in 2 or 3 generations. We don’t even know our own family members, let alone the billions of people who lived on the east 200 years ago.
Even those who engage in God’s work are often forgotten by the world.There are some names who stand out.Names like Spurgeon, Ryle, Calvin, Luther, or Edwards stand out. Around those men that are remembered were multitud…

Preach like Carl Sagan, not Neil deGrasse Tyson

There were thousands of articles written about the recent solar eclipse.Scientific explanations, helpful advice, and lots of information about those glasses.Many people walked outside to look up, some traveling hundreds of miles to be in the path of totality.

Many news channels had wall to wall coverage, each with their own man or woman of science to explain things.Some were meteorologists, some were actually astronomers, and others just people who found it all very interesting.I was not in the path of totality, but as I flipped around the channels on the tv, it became clear that not all the broadcasts were the same. Some of the newscasters were very interested in it and it showed. Some were only covering it because their boss made them, and it showed too.
Later that day I came across this description of the the movements of the sun by famed scientist Carl Sagan.A noted atheist, he was nonetheless very eloquent in his description of the cosmos.

The way that Sagan wrote provokes a sense …