Don’t Put the Tomb in Storage

Easter is over. So now what? Bunnies have hopped away, the chocolate has melted, pageant practice is over, and the empty tomb has been put back in storage. So now what?

What I have always found interesting (and I am guilty of this myself) is that the sadness felt the week after Christmas is very rarely repeated the week after Easter. Why is that? There aren’t as many warm fuzzies at Easter (okay, rabbits, but you know what I’m saying) and the “spirit” isn’t as merry and fun. I get that…but why? Could it be that we prefer the baby Jesus over the resurrected one?

You all know my feelings on Christmas, so I won’t repeat them here (hint: it’s GREAT!), but what Easter represents is so much more exciting than Christmas. Easter is the celebration of the fact that Jesus rose from the dead! Do you know what the means?! That’s where salvation comes from! That’s why our eternity is secure! That’s why we will see so many loved ones again! That’s why….everything!!   And yet, we so often forget to celebrate this properly…the most significant day…ever.

Whose fault is that? At Christmastime, we like to blame the world for people not remembering Jesus. But how come no one goes around saying “Put Christ back in Easter?” Maybe because it’s our fault. Maybe because, as Christians, we are the ones who have forgotten to keep Him around.

Now I know what you’re saying: “That’s ridiculous! Christians celebrate Jesus at Easter! That’s what we do!” Okay, sure, we do sing “He Lives” and put on a little play and talk about the cross standing behind some lilies. But for a day…a weekend…a week. Is that all the resurrection of Jesus gets? A week?

See, that’s what I think the problem is. We go gung-ho for a week, but with almost nothing before and nothing after. Easter is not just a week long celebration…it’s forever. This is the good news that we should proclaim! Not for a week, for every day! Instead, most Christians celebrate for a short time, put the tomb back in storage, and then go back to Bible studies about learning how to stop complaining.


Maybe if we remembered our salvation more often, we would stop complaining more naturally.

Yes, Bible studies on different topics are important. Yes, we need to learn and grow in various ways. I’m not saying don’t do those things. What I am saying is: Don’t put the tomb in storage. Leave it out! Look at it every day! Remember that today is the day of salvation! Keep the Christ in Easter. Keep the Easter in the year! Be in awe every day that Jesus saved you. Be like the disciples, when they realized that the tomb was empty…dedicate your life to it…every second of it.

If we live like that…well…I, for one, can’t wait to see what we can do.

More Than We Can Imagine

I couldn’t let it go any longer. I know it’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write a new post, but with Easter coming up so quickly, I just couldn’t put it off any longer. Thank you all for your patience.

We will talk about Easter itself soon, but right now, I wanted to mention something a little unrelated. One of the great things about Easter-time is that there are usually a slew of Christian movies that come to theaters to cash in on Christians feeling all Christian-y. Some are good, some are…not. Of the handful that have come out so far, Joy and I had the opportunity to see “I Can Only Imagine,” which is based on the life of Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe. Since we all just saw MercyMe a few weeks ago, I’m sure you recognize that song, but you may not know that it was written in honor of Bart’s dad who died of cancer. Although his dad was a pretty awful person most of his life, he became a Christian soon before he died and his life changed dramatically!

Having just list my dad only a few months ago, the movie really hit me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Although my dad was never the “monster” that Bart’s dad was, he was not a Christian for most of my life. That was hard for me. It was hard to know that I was not going to share eternity with my dad. When my dad had his triple bypass surgery several years ago, that really put a scare in all of our family, including him. It was then that my dad realized that he needed to accept Christ, which he did. I am so thankful for that!

My dad did change over his last few years because of Christ being in his life. So, when he died in November, I knew that his life was not over. I knew that he was with Christ, just waiting for me to get there.

You can ask Joy…I sometimes have a hard time expressing my feelings about losing my dad. Yes, tears were shed while I was watching this movie. But through the bottled up feelings and watery eyed movie theaters, I am so grateful that I can sing along with Bart’s song, knowing that applied to my dad as well. That he is with God, experiencing more joy than I could every imagine here on earth!

Some of you have lost someone very close to you. I hope that song applies to them as well. If it does, let that comfort you. If you haven’t experienced loss yet, that’s great. But use these stories as a means to inspire you to share Christ with all of your family and friends! Especially at this Christian-y, Easter-y time of the year.

The Assemblies

Hey, everybody! Finally back to the blog after another short hiatus. So much has been going on since the year started…in fact, next weekend is our Winter Retreat! I don’t know about you, but I am very excited about. As most of you know, this year, we are doing something different that we’ve never done before: Instead of going to one of the “prepackaged” retreats that High Point themselves puts on, we are going to be partnering with 3 other local churches to rent out the whole camp and have the place to ourselves.

I know that some of you may be a little bummed that there won’t be as many people there as there usually is when we go on one of their planned weekends, but I think this is going to be so much better. We are starting to build a relationship with the other churches and youth groups around us. And it’s more than just for one retreat, we’re going to start seeing these groups more often.

So why are we doing it this way? Good question. The main reason is so that we will start to remember that we, The Assembly at Calvary Memorial Church, are just 1 assembly of so many more. No longer do we want to go on thinking that we’re all alone out there, but that there are those around us that are just like us…groups of believers trying to learn and grow…and have a little fun in the process.

It’s time to take this opportunity to break ourselves out of what we know and what we may be comfortable in and to see how we can work together with those who may not know, but are after the same goal. We can do much more together than we can do alone.

Will it be different and new and strange? Yup! Good. That’s what makes things interesting.

Let’s Do That Again

Welcome back, everybody! It has been an incredibly hectic month of December around here, which is why the website has not been updated as regularly, but now that the break is over, things should get back to normal.

Christmastime certainly does make things very non-normal in our lives, doesn’t it? Personally, it is my absolute favorite time of the year. You can ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am a different person at Christmastime…very non-normal. The decorations, the Christmas specials (final count=157…way behind from last year!), the family and friends, the constant reminders of Jesus and His birth, the time off from work, the list goes on!

But almost all of my celebrating takes place before Christmas Day. You see, I am all about anticipation. I love Dec.1-24 so much more than the 25th. I love the build up to this wonderful day and the excitement that comes with it! Those days of anticipatory celebration is what I take the most joy in. I think if we’re honest, many of us feel the same way. That’s why way too often on Dec. 26 or Jan. 2nd, we feel sad or depressed…because now it’s all over! I’ve been in that post-Christmas funk before, you can just ask Joy.

But the more I’ve been thinking about it all, the more I realize that there’s so much more waiting. Jesus came once…the first Advent. Advent means coming…that’s why we have Advent Calendars with little pieces of chocolate in them and the Advent Wreath that we lit every Sunday morning. Christmas celebrates the first Advent. But there’s good news! He’s coming again! There’s a second Advent! True, when Jesus comes back, it won’t be the same way it was at Christmas, but that’s okay, because it’s gonna be better!

So why don’t we take time, now that Christmas is over, to look forward to the 2nd Advent? Let’s dive head first into anticipation and spend every day in excitement for what we are waiting so eagerly for! Christmas is just a remembrance. We get to experience this one first hand! If that’s not enough to celebrate, I don’t know what is!

So, yeah. Christmas is over. But as Matthew West points out, “The Light of the World is still here.” Right now, He lives within us. But He’s also coming back again. He’s here and He’s coming. No matter what you’re favorite part of Christmas is, the build up or the day itself, there’s even more of a reason to celebrate on Dec. 26th and beyond!

Happy Advent, everyone.

The Responsibility of Christmas

Christmas time is upon us! If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely love Christmas and everything that comes with it! As soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, the Christmas music starts playing and the Christmas movies and specials start rolling. In fact, as of this writing, I am already 34 Christmas specials in and still going strong. I think it’s safe to say that if I weren’t typing this right now, I’d be watching one at this very moment!

Every year, however, as much as I love Christmas, I always seem to meet somebody new who tells me how much they don’t like Christmas. This always baffles me. How can you not like Christmas!? There’s the usual array of reasons that the person gives me, but it all comes down to some form of “Christmas isn’t really about Jesus anymore and all of the traditions that people participate in (even the not particularly greedy ones) only get in the way and distract from Christ.” Well, Bah Humbug to you!

Here’s the response that I like to give, however: The only person that is letting the distractions get in the way of their Christmas is you!

Yes, it’s true that many of the Christmas traditions that we all like to participate in do not originate from the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot celebrate them in a way that still points to Christ! There’s a great (although very cheesy…so be warned!) movie from Kirk Cameron about this topic called “Saving Christmas.” In the movie, he details how you can use the traditions and celebrations of Christmas to point right back to Christ. Hey! Even Santa Claus tried to do that!

This Christmas, don’t let yourself or anyone else become the person that drags Christmas down because they don’t think it’s Jesus-y enough…Make it Jesus-y! That part isn’t the day’s responsibility…it’s ours!

So as the season starts….deck the halls, pour some egg nog, eat a cookie, tune into Rudolph, rock around the Christmas tree…whatever puts you in the right spirit…just remember that everything you do should point right back to Christ. And it does! You just have to look for it!


We have so much more than we think we do. The fact that you are somewhere with an internet connection and a device to even read this proves that! In just 1 week from today, most of us will sit down somewhere, maybe with family or friends, and partake in the holiday we know as Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, this isn’t a lesson about pilgrims.

But sometimes, when you’re at the dinner table, you may be asked to go around the room and say something that you’re thankful for…and sometimes we can have trouble coming up with something. I’ve been there. But if you take a moment to truly look around you, you will see all the things that you have, that you’ve been given…that you got. And you’ll give thanks.

Maybe it will be the people you love, surrounding you. Maybe it will be carefully thought out things that you’ve written on a leaf. Maybe it will simply the food on the table that you’re about to devour. But you will give thanks for things that you have. Because you can’t give thanks for something that you didn’t get.

And that’s really the point. Wait, what? The point is getting? Yes. Yes it is. If someone gives you something, that means that you are getting something. And that’s a reason to be thankful! Let’s be thankful not just for what we can give what we can get! Because even if we don’t have a whole lot, what we do have is really all that matters: Jesus Christ. We got Him! Celebrate that! Don’t just have a Thanksgiving…have a Thanksgetting! Every day!

And don’t stop on Thursday…carry it with you as the Christmas season starts. After all, Christmas is really about getting too…it’s when we got Jesus! Now that is something to truly be thankful for!


This has been a rough couple of weeks for me and my family. For those of you who might not know, my Dad has been in and out of the hospital pretty much since the beginning of the summer, but has really taken a turn for the worst last week. I won’t bog you down with all the details, but the short story is that he’s on a breathing machine at the moment and we’re not sure whether he’s able to think anymore. That’s the most basic version anyway.

Not a moment goes by where I don’t pray that God will perform a miracle with my Dad. I want to be able to talk to him again and to share my day and stories with him. I want to laugh with him and eat with him. I even want to hear him complain and to see him fall asleep while we’re watching TV.

Last night I was at the hospital with Joy, my Mom, and my Sister and we all talked to my Dad, even though we weren’t sure if he could hear us. As I gave him a kiss on nose (which is all I could reach with the hospital bed in the way), I told him I would see him “tomorrow.” Now I don’t know for sure whether my Dad will make it through each hour, let alone day, but although I left the hospital saddened, I didn’t leave without knowing that the “tomorrow” I promised him would truly come.

I spent years growing up without my Dad being a Christian. It wasn’t until his heart began giving him problems about 5 or so years ago that he realized he needed to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. Because of that fact, even if I were to get that dreaded phone call in the middle of the night, telling me something I do not want to hear, I know that tomorrow is coming.

Tomorrow may not be a Friday or Saturday in November, but it will come. Tomorrow will be the day that I get to talk with my Dad again and know he will hear me. And together we will both talk with Jesus, who even through tears of sadness today, will bring tears of joy tomorrow.

Yousoever Gospel Mission

I’m excited about Saturday! Not because I’m putting Christmas decorations up. Cause I’m not. It’s not time yet!

Instead, this Saturday, we will all be going to Whosoever Gospel Mission to help out and serve those who are in need. I think that it is very appropriate that we are heading down there as November, the month of Thanksgiving, has just started. I’m sure that as that holiday gets closer, I’ll be full of all kinds of biblical reasons why we should be thankful for all that we have, but I’ll save that for later.

What I think is worth pointing out, however, is a very important fact about the Mission. As I’m sure we’ll learn about when we get down there, this isn’t a place where people are forced to go to or even for people who just want a free meal and a warm bed…it’s much more. The Mission is a program for men who have had life not go well for them in one way or another, but who want to get their lives back on track, both spiritually and out in the world. These guys are getting an education, they’re working, they’re doing all that they can to live well in God’s eyes.

So here’s the question, then: Are you? I think it’s pretty safe to say, especially considering all the things we’re almost ready to be thankful for, we have been incredibly blessed. Now, we all have issues and problems, absolutely, but we have a home to go to and we receive an education, and have people in our lives that there is no question how much they love and care for us. And best of all, we have been exposed to Jesus when we are young enough to not let our lives go astray.

I think that we can agree that we have been blessed with much more than we may see on Saturday. So where is our passion to get to know Christ more? Where is our desire to work as hard as we can? Where is our drive to be the best we can be in God’s eyes?

Saturday is not just about the men we’ll meet who have been given a second chance. It’s about us…about you…who are still working on our first chance. Let this experience be encouraging and challenging….for all of us, together.

Don’t Forget About Love

On Tuesday night, Joy and I had the chance to go see a very unique movie. It was called “Revive Us 2” and it wasn’t so much a movie as what it advertised itself as…a family meeting. Kirk Cameron (who I have always had a lot of respect for) has put this on two years in a row now…a gathering of Christians in movie theaters all across the country to sit down with each other and try to figure out how we can be united in order to more effectively share the message of Jesus. Lots of great people were there, too: Ravi Zacharias, Joni Earikson Tada, Ben Carson, the Kendrick Brothers, and more. It was really a great evening.

I share this because something that the Kendrick Brothers said really resonated with me (Those are the guys made the movies “Fireproof,” “Courageous,” and “War Room,” by the way!) When asked a question about how we, as Christian brothers and sisters, can talk with each other about controversial topics without getting into fights, they went straight to the Bible. They reminded us that the two greatest commandments that Jesus gives us is to love the Lord with all our heart and to love our neighbors. What they said was that if at any point, the conversation we’re having or the point we’re trying to make becomes more important than those two things, then that’s how we know we’ve got our priorities wrong.

Our very first priority is to love. The second is to love, too. Remember that.

Even in our own church, I see and hear sometimes brothers and sisters getting into conversations that just aren’t as important as we make them out to be. I know I can be guilty of that and if you’re honest, you probably can be too. We are called to be united as the universal Church of Christ. Let’s not let small differences come between our unity.

And that goes for even our own youth group. We may not always see eye to eye with each other…and sometimes that can be okay…but we are still family and we still love each other. Don’t forget about love. It comes way before anything else.

A Change in the Weather

It’s getting a little cooler. The other day, I wore a long sleeve shirt. I don’t do that…it takes a lot for me to wear a long sleeve shirt, but nevertheless, it needed to be done. I regretted it later, as I got very warm, but that’s par for the course, really. The point is, we are entering a new season…the earth continues to rotate and move…things are changing, and while it’s hard to adjust to at times, there are a lot of great things to come. (You know Christmas is out there, waiting!)

A lot has happened in our youth group since my last post about a month ago…there have been some changes. Some of those changes can be hard to adjust to, I get that, but change can still bring about wonderful things, even as we celebrate the wonderful season that just ended.

As I take over the Youth Pastor position for our group, I am looking forward to what is to come. Last week, I truly enjoyed our brainstorming session as we all weighed in on what we would like to see and do; it was encouraging to see everyone invested in this group that we call our own. And last night, as we started our new study, I looked around the room as the ukulele played and we all all sang together…that was a special moment to me and I am grateful to be a part of it with you.

And when it comes down to it, I think that’s the best part about change: The fact that we get to experience it with each other. That’s what I’m looking forward to…more ukulele worship, more serving, more games, more food, more skits, more growing, more learning…more change. Change just means we’re not standing still…we continue to move. And that’s a good thing. So don’t stay frozen in place…ring your bells from your heart…because simply staying put isn’t that exciting.

So be excited me with me…It’s getting a little cooler.