A YEAR LATER

This week marks one year since I loaded up my car, played golf the last time with three of my friends I had been playing with for years, and headed to Amarillo to join my wife who had left a week earlier. I had shed tears earlier in the morning when I left my son, but I was able to hold them off when I said good-by to my golfing partners until I got to the car and left the course.

My drive from Southern California to the Texas Panhandle was the longest and loneliest of my life. I checked into a Holiday Inn after 10 hours of driving, but it took a long time to finally go to sleep. The six hour drive the next day was a little easier, but my emotions were still up and down. The warm welcome from Jan, my daughter, our two grandsons, their dog, and our dog was comforting.

A year later I still miss a lot about Southern California. I miss our house and neighborhood of 32 years, I miss our many friends (especially those from Discovery Christian Church), I miss guest preaching (especially at New Day Christian Church and Westwood Hills Christian Church), I miss teaching at Hope International University and the wonderful people there, I miss the great variety of golf courses, and I miss In-N-Out Burger.

But we have adjusted and adapted to our new location and Amarillo is now our home. While I have made quite a few friends and enjoy our new house, we have not yet connected with people in our neighborhood. I regularly play golf with several guys—and year round even though it is often windy and is cold in the winter. I thoroughly enjoy my two part time jobs as the Bible teacher at Amarillo High School (dual credit with Amarillo College) and the Pastor to Senior Adults at Washington Avenue Christian Church. Jan and I both love our new church—the people and the staff. Not that there were not similar people in our previous places and churches, but we have met some wonderfully gracious and generous people in our new church and city.

The best and most fulfilling thing about our move last year is the opportunity and privilege to be near our daughter and fully engaged with our two grandsons. We enjoyed Christmas last year and both boys’ birthdays this year. On school days Jan picks up our three year from preschool and I pick up our second grader. A special bonus for me this past summer was being an assistant coach for our second grader’s baseball team.

Last year, the week before I left, my blog post was entitled A Bright Sadness. In that post I wrote “at this point I am hurting more thinking about what I am losing than what I am about to gain. Right now my bright sadness is sadder than it is bright. Soon, however, the brightness will outshine the sadness.” (You can read that post here https://bobmmink.com/2016/12/05/a-bright-sadness/)

One year later I am confident our move was the right decision. The brightness today does outshine the sadness of when we left California a year ago.

Please feel to leave a comment below (or email me at bobmmink@gmail.com) and/or share this post on Facebook or other social media.

 

 

 

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FEAR THE LORD?

In my High School Bible class we recently concluded our survey of the five poetry and wisdom books in the Old Testament. Both Proverbs and Ecclesiastes give a foundational principle that can be confusing and has troubled some believers. Proverbs 1:7 declares “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” And Ecclesiastes 12:13 wraps up the book with “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments.”

Are we really supposed to fear God? That all depends on our relationship with him and our understanding of the challenge. What does it mean to fear the LORD?

I don’t think it means we should run from, avoid, or shrink away from him like we would a dangerous animal or situation. After all, he is our Creator and Heavenly Father and he loves us. He also is our friend, but he is not our pal or good buddy.

In my teaching the past few years I’ve been thinking and talking about the fear of the LORD quite a bit in trying to understand what it means and challenge my students. A couple of weeks ago I realized my proposals suggest an acrostic: ARWOL.

Fear of the LORD begins with an acknowledgement of his existence. You no doubt believe God is, but not everyone does. To fear the LORD we must acknowledge the LORD. But it is more than that.

To fear the LORD is also to respect him. By their words and actions, a lot of people who acknowledge God certainly don’t seem to respect him. To fear the LORD we must respect the LORD. But it is more than that.

To fear the LORD is to worship him. And by that I don’t mean simply going to church. Of course I think it means we go to church, but worship involves much more than just going to church. It goes beyond acknowledging and respecting him to honoring him for who he is. To fear LORD we must worship the LORD. But it is more than that.

To fear the LORD is to obey him. That’s part of what Ecclesiastes 12:13 is saying goes with fearing God. But it is not to intimate that if we fear the LORD we will perfectly obey him. We know that is not the case. We might say we try to obey him or we intend to obey him or our resolve is to obey him even though we are not always successful. But because we fear him it is our intention and goal to obey him. But it is more than just obey him.

Finally in my acrostic, to fear the LORD is to love him. You remember I’m sure Jesus’ answer to the question asked of him in Matthew 22:36 and 37 about the greatest commandment. He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” My paraphrase: love God completely. To fear the LORD we must love the LORD. And to love the LORD is to acknowledge, respect, worship, and obey him.

I’m interested in what you think. Please feel free to leave a comment below (or email me at bobmmink@gmail.com) and/or share this post on Facebook or other social media.