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To My Magnolia Creek Baptist Church Family

The past five years as part of your fellowship have been a blessing to me, Kacy, and our girls. We will miss you, and we pray that God blesses you greatly as you reach up in worship and prayer, reach in in fellowship, and reach out to impact your community.

It’s been a joy to serve with Brett Dutton, my friend, brother, and pastor. I’ve had a blast leading worship alongside Karen Flachman, Dianne Cook, Mike Daniher, Reid McLelland, Will Shivers, Trice Ham, Steve Shivers, and Thomas Circenis, as well as others who’ve served in the worship ministry like Christian Capdeville and Taylor Lonsford. God has built a great worship ministry at Magnolia Creek due in large part to your service and sacrifice.

We have made so many good friends that I don’t want to try to name them all because I will mess it up. Please know that we love you, and we will miss you. MCBC has been our church home and will continue to be part of us. Think of this: the DNA of Magnolia Creek Baptist Church will help shape the future of Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Salisbury, Maryland. How cool is that?!

God bless you, my church.
Jud

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Waiting Vs. Wasting

A great blog on waiting – something I know a little about – from my good friend Darren Sutton. It was a good word for me, and I think it will be for you, too.

Everyone's Called to Youth Ministry

Waiting-Room-Braille-Engraved-Sign-SE-2730“Sometimes waiting turns to wasting.”

And with those words, Jesus rocked my world through Katie’s wisdom once again!

Our family has been in a holding pattern for a LOT longer than we ever anticipated when this journey was thrust upon us by God.  And it was very evident early on that it would be a significant wait…much like that time you went to the doctor’s office and got there on time for your early-morning appointment and still missed an entire day of work.

You remember the appointment, right?  A minor annoyance at first, you watched the clock and wondered exactly how long you’d be there.  As you settled in to an uncomfortable seat and hoped you wouldn’t catch what anyone else had, you began to plan out your adjusted calendar for the day.  As you realized even the most well-adjusted calendar wouldn’t be happening THAT day, you sent a few…

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To the Ends of the Earth

As is Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness. – Psalm 48:10

This morning, I was struck by the words of this Psalm: “As is Your name, O God, so is Your praise…” The power, the majesty, the immensity of the name of God overwhelms. His name holds power throughout the universe. His hand is evident all over creation.

Even so is His praise. If we don’t praise Him, every rock, in every corner of the earth, every star, every galaxy, everything that is proclaims the glory of its Creator. There is no escaping His praise. There is no way He will not be praised.

To the ends of the earth, praise Him!

Show Us What Is Possible

Crystal Kelley and Baby S. - Courtesy of CNN
Crystal Kelley and Baby S. – Courtesy of CNN

Crystal Kelley, a single mother of two who’d recently lost her job, was a surrogate faced with a terrible choice: terminate her pregnancy as the biological parents told her to do, or keep the child herself – a child who had severe medical problems and only a small chance at a “normal” life.  Despite an offer of $10,000 to have the abortion, she chose to disobey the biological parents.

“I told them that they had chosen me to carry and protect this child, and that was exactly what I was going to do,” Kelley said in the linked CNN article.

In the end, Kelley found a home for the child, referred to in the article as Baby S.  She was adopted into a loving family with the means and will to care for her.

There are ethical issues here outside of the issue of abortion.  Some may believe, as the biological parents appear to have, that abortion would have been the most humane choice.  But I believe Kelley chose the highest ethic – the preservation of the life of the child.

As a father and a human being, I understand the difficulty of choosing to bring into the world a child who has little to no chance at a normal life, or even survival.  But I also believe that’s no one’s choice but God’s.

As Baby S.’s adoptive parents stated in the quote above, “Ultimately, we hold onto a faith that in providing S. with love, opportunity, encouragement, she will be the one to show us what is possible for her life and what she is capable of achieving.”

Doesn’t every child deserve that chance?  Would that more people would choose the life of the child.

Redeemer

As I read Leviticus 25 this morning, I was reminded that God did not become Redeemer when Jesus died on the cross.  Here we see the redemption of land, slaves, and the poor.  We are reminded of the kinsman redeemer.

We see that, even in the beginnings of His relationship with the newly freed nation of Israel, as He formed a covenant with them at Sinai, God was Redeemer.  He was concerned with the redemption of those who could not redeem themselves, with the freedom of those who were powerless to free themselves.  God had freed His people from Egypt, and it was His intention to keep them free.

It was their own refusal to abide by the covenant that kept the Israelites from being free as God desired.

As followers of Christ – the Church – we are that nation’s successors, in that we are God’s people.  Like Israel, we sometimes stubbornly refuse to obey.  But God’s intention in the death and resurrection of His Son is that we would be free.

He didn’t simply make rules allowing for our physical redemption as He did in Leviticus.  He gave Himself that we would be redeemed effective, spiritually, eternally.  Jesus was and is the ultimate kinsman redeemer, who gave His life that we might be free from sin, free to live lives that glorify Him.

Not only did He give us the opportunity, but He empowers us to be free.  The very Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is in us (Romans 8:11), giving us what we need to live as the people of God.

We are redeemed!