Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…”And the good news is”
My paternal grandfather Ed Brown, was an amazing man. He was an eternal optimist. There were times when I worked with him and at the end of a long day when I know he was as tired as my dad and I, he would push his chair back from the dinner table and say in his booming voice, “Boys, I think I have my second wind!”. Dad and I would look at each other in disbelief, though I don’t know why…he said those words all the time. The problem was the old guy meant them…and it was back to work some more that evening for the three of us. That man really believed he would always have a second wind to propel him forward. Another phrase he was well known for and that was born out of that sense of eternal optimism was, “And the good news is…” He wouldn’t say ‘But’ the good news is…that would indicate there was something initially to be ungrateful for…and grandpa was a lot of things, but never ungrateful…at least never in my hearing. No, he said “And the good news is…” He would then go on to tell whoever was listening how they needed to be even more grateful because there was always a good way of looking at any situation. Grandpa dealt with some very difficult things. The loss of a young son to a lifelong illness. A failed business that led to a personal bankruptcy…back when that was still looked at a shameful thing to experience. He even had an illness that made him very sick for many years and left him stone deaf. All of these life experiences and other difficult ones to be sure, but he was always ready to tell you, “And the good news is…”.
Grandpa loved my grandma almost more than anything. In fact, the only thing he loved more than her was Jesus. Their intense desire to follow Jesus and give God the glory for everything in their lives did much to shape the way I think about my own walk with the Lord. As I said a few moments ago, grandpa was an eternal optimist. He did look at things in this world with optimism, gratefulness, and a surety that whatever it was…would work itself out. But he truly was an ETERNAL optimist. What was really on his mind, heart and often his lips was, “and the good news is…Jesus loves me!” or “And the good news is…God will see us through this!”, whatever “this” might be, this time. Yes, grandpa was an Eternal optimist!
1 Peter 1:3-9 read as follows and if you’ll allow me the freedom, I’ll quote it as I imagine I hear grandpa would from his front row seats with grandma at the throne of the almighty King Jesus they both love so much.
And the good news is…Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.
What grandpa would want all of us to know is this…There is great reason for everyone who loves Jesus to be an ETERNAL optimist!
I don’t know what you may be going through today. My life has taught me that there are often things we have to endure, and many of them I’m afraid are unpleasant. Each day we deal with loss of loved ones, illnesses, cancer, financial struggles, job losses, marital difficulties, dysfunctional family issues …we are all at times grieved by various trials as the scripture above indicated. But whatever you do, take grandpa’s advice. Don’t let the various trials be told as the story of your life…they are stories of things that have happened and will happen in your life, but they are not the story of your life. The story of your life…if you love Jesus…if you are a Christ follower is this: that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.
“And the good news is…”
So now, being filled and focused on the Good News…go be awesome!