Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Letter To My Newborn Grandson (Reprint)

Late in the evening on January 25, 2000, Linda and I came home from King's Daughters Medical Center as grandparents for the very first time.  Grandparents!  So hard to believe!  Our beautiful daughter in law, Michelle, had been through nearly 24 hours of labor, with our son, Jay, right there by her side.  Finally the little guy made his arrival into this world. Caudle Jerry Adkins V was here.  A big, beautiful, and healthy child.  I was convinced he was the most beautiful child - ever!

What to call the little guy?  Jay and Michelle had already worked that out.  They certainly weren't going to saddle him with the moniker, "Caudle" for obvious reasons.  "C.J." was already taken.  Jerry apparently didn't strike their fancy, so since he was the fifth Caudle Adkins in the line, his parents decided to key on the numeral. So they chose "Quint", Latin for "Five".

Emotions were high that night. We were so happy for Jay and Michelle. We were so excited to be grandparents. We were deeply in love with a little fellow we had just met. Sleep was elusive, so I got up around 2:00 AM, grabbed a legal pad, and scribbled down a letter full of advice for this little newborn. Obviously Quint couldn't read it then.  Hopefully he will read it today, and know how special is and how much he has been loved for 14 years. Here's the letter.

Happy birthday Quint.  You are a blessing.

A Letter To My Newborn Grandson 
(Caudle Jerry Adkins V was born January 25, 2000)

Dear Quint,
Happy birthday little fellow! You were born last night at 10:59PM. Your beautiful mother worked long and hard to bring you into this world and your daddy was right there with her the whole way. I cried when I saw how much they loved each other and how much they loved you (even though they didn't yet know who you were). You see, sadly, the laws of our country would have allowed you to have been destroyed before you were even born, but your Mom & Dad would never have considered that. She carried you inside her body for nine long months until you would be able to live on your own. She labored for 25 hours and gave up her own physical well being and comfort to give you life. Always love and respect them for that – but more so, do it because God's Word instructs you to do just that.

I never thought I could ever love any little boy as much as I did your daddy and his brother, Benji – but last night I found out that indeed I could. Your Mamaw and I fell in love with you at first sight. Not only were you beautiful to behold, but you also carried in your little person the combined heritage of all your Mommy and Daddy's combined families. Your represent our very best hopes and dreams.

You are an eternal creature, for in your little body dwells a never dying soul. One day – sometime down the road, God will begin to deal with your heart about loving and serving Him. I am praying today that when that day comes, you will meet God on His terms and ask His son, Jesus, to come into your heart. Your Mommy and Daddy will be talking to you plenty about Jesus. So will Mamaw and I – and your Great Grandparents will too! You listen closely and believe, and when the time comes, it will be very easy for you to trust God and allow Jesus to be your Savior and Lord.

Sleep well and gain lots of strength. You'll need it for what lies ahead of you. Who knows what the future holds for you? Tonight my imagination runs wild about you. What will you be like as you grow? What will you look like? How will your little voice sound when you say your first words, and what will those words be? With what types of talents and abilities has God blessed you? What great things might you accomplish for Him. Who will you marry? Will I be around to see you grow into adulthood and have a family of your own? I certainly pray that I do. You are so special. Among all the 6 billion people on earth there is no one else just like you. Not only does your whole family love you, but God loves you and Jesus died for you, and that makes you special.

This is an exciting time to be alive. My Papaw (the first Caudle) was born in the 19th century, in 1895 and he fought in World War I. He died in 1959. My Daddy (your great grandfather) was born in 1927 – the year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic. He lived through the Great Depression, served in World War II, and as a member of the greatest generation, helped set the standard for all of us who followed. I was born in 1950 at the mid point of the 20th century, and have seen a lot of changes in this world and it's lifestyles. Your Daddy arrived in 1973 and now, 25 days into the new 21st century, here you are! At the dawn of this new millennium, your life begins.

Listen to your parents. Watch their lives. Learn from them and trust their Savior as your own. Live for Him and walk with Him. Follow Proverbs 3: 5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." If you'll do that, you'll never, ever go wrong! Your Mamaw and I love you, little fellow – more than you can comprehend right now. I pray for God's richest blessings on you all the days of your life.

With All My Love,
Papaw Adkins

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Attitude Check

Several years ago a disgruntled church member stormed into my office, demanding “satisfaction”.  Something had happened in the course of this person’s activities on a committee that had caused this member to just go ballistic.  “I’m right, and I know it!” the individual yelled at me.  “I’ve been in this a long time” they continued, “and (the person they were at odds with) is just wrong!  She needs to listen to me!”

The sad news is that the dispute was not over any matter of Christian doctrine or practice. It had nothing to do with heresy or obvious sinful behavior. This wasn’t even about the never dying controversy over worship music style.  It was nothing of consequence that would have altered our mission or ministry at the church.  It was all about a difference of opinion and interpretation on some minor issue of church policy.  In the vast scheme of things, in light of eternity, in light of lost souls around us, it meant NOTHING,

It simply came down to a matter of personal opinion.

 A few years ago, my son, Jay, was in a discussion with a couple of his staff members and seminary classmates.  I’m not sure exactly what the topic of debate was, but the discussion was lively and animated.  Jay’s 10 year old son, Quint, was also in the room and was quite accustomed to being around such conversations.  As this lively discussion went on, Jay asked Quint, “What’s your opinion on that, son?”

Quint stated his opinion and Jay announced, “Wrong!”

Calmly Quint replied, “No.  You asked for my OPINION and that is what I gave you - my opinion.  It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong.  It’s my opinion.”

The boy was wise beyond his age.

Many of us adults need to remember that our opinion is just that - an opinion.  Sometimes they may be right on a particular subject.  Sometimes they may be wrong. But we should never lose sight of the fact that they are simply our opinions.  The other guy is entitled to his just as much as we are to ours.  Sadly, often our opinions are based on preconceived notions, personal preferences, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, limited understanding of the facts, and (for us Christians) limited knowledge and understanding of the scriptures.

The person who stood red faced and boiling in my office was intent on my backing them up, and offered a “my way or the highway” ultimatum if I didn’t.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit brought a scripture to my mind immediately.  I took my Bible off the desk and asked that person to read this scripture out loud.  Here is what it said:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Philippians 2:3-8

“Do you think you are showing the mind of Christ on this issue?” I asked the aggravated individual.  “Are you allowing Jesus' example to guide you in this?”

The individual stormed out of my office, left the church, and never came back again.

Now let me be very careful when I say this, and I hope you will understand what I am saying in the spirit in which I say it.

Good Riddance!

When we display an attitude such as this, we neither bring honor to Christ, nor His Church, and we certainly do not show God's Grace in our behavior.
Now please understand that I do not want to lose members.  Over the years in pastoral ministry I have spent an inordinate amount of time mediating disputes, soothing disgruntled sheep, and trying to encourage folks to focus on keeping the main thing – the main thing.  My point is this, however.  Our mission is to reach the nations with the Gospel of Christ. That is the task Christ left us. Pure and simple.

As the family of faith grows in number, there will always be differences of opinions and irritations over personal preference.  We cannot let those small, stupid, insignificant things obscure our mission to reach the lost, and to drive wedges in our fellowship as members of the Body of Christ.

Those who do, may simply be spiritually immature, in which case we need to patiently disciple them as much as possible and as quickly as possible.  However, some – who like the angry member in my office – “who have been in this a long time” yet have no evidence of Christlike behavior, and bear little or no fruit of the Spirit, and really do not care WHAT the Bible says, make me wonder if they have ever even truly come to faith in Christ at all.

When the focus of our attention as church members becomes a constant conflict over such small, non doctrinal, non missional things, then we’re practicing a petty version of “churchianity” rather than Christianity. Then the church becomes more of an “organization” than the living “organism” that Christ died to create.

Wouldn’t it be something if the church got as concerned over lost people, headed for a Devil’s Hell as some folks do over the color of the carpet, musical styles, outdated ineffective programs, creature comforts, the temperature of the sanctuary, or the toilet that didn’t get cleaned to our satisfaction?  What if we spent more time in prayer than we did in complaining?  What if we committed ourselves to sharing the Gospel with others rather than fussing about the things we don’t like?  What if we acted more like Christ than a pouting child?

Why, revival might just break out!

I’m ready for an attitude check in my life.  How about you?