Monday, April 26, 2021

Promoted to Head Landscaper


This week our friend Mike Chappelle got promoted. After several years of ebbs and flows in his battle with cancer, he finally succumbed (thankfully, this last round was fairly brief).  I remember Mike saying he didn’t care so much about streets of gold, a mansion, or anything else – he just wanted to “mow Billy Graham’s grass” 😊  Classic Chappelle!


Luke 23:43 - “Today you will be with me in Paradise”


Things to think about:

·       Mike was a charter member of our Tuesday morning group.  There were five men God put on my heart to invite to a Bible study and Mike was one of them. 

o   If you knew him, you know he was highly successful in his business.  Between his Boston bravado and success, I was pretty intimidated to reach out to him, but he immediately said Yes and thought it was a great idea.

o   What you may not know is if it wasn’t for Mike, none of you would be reading this right now.  Mike asked if would be OK to invite someone else (duh) and that someone was Vic.  Just the two of us met for 2+ years before we had anybody else join us.  After that, it just sort of kept growing and here we are today.  Thank you Mike!

·       Like all of us, Mike had his share of challenges.  He never backed down from them though and faced each one with the same grit, transparency, and sarcasm we loved him for.

·       The past few years have been especially hard given the ravaging effects of cancer.  A remarkable athlete in his prime, cancer took a heavy toll on him.

o   A few of us went to see him 2 ½ years ago and had an amazing weekend with him.  Somehow, he found the strength to take us on his favorite walks in the mountains of Asheville, NC

·       As believers we know the end of this life is not really the end but the start of a new beginning.

o   That’s not to diminish the grief and sadness we feel when we lose someone dear to us. 

o   John 11:33-35 - When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.  “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  Jesus wept.

·       However, John 11:25 illustrates that death is not the final word - Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”

·       Philippians 3:20-21 - But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

o   Mike’s body has wonderfully, miraculously been remade to be like Jesus’

·       John 14:1-3 - “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

·       Let’s not rush to ignore the pain when someone we love passes.  It’s real and it’s part of the process. 

o   But we also have HOPE and it’s that hope that makes all the difference.

o   Mike hoped for an eternity he knows he didn’t deserve (like all of us).

o   We believe Mike’s faith in a Savior has reaped an inheritance he could never earn and that he can never lose.   

o   What joy awaits us who have put our trust in the resurrected Christ.


Mow on Mike, mow on!

Monday, April 12, 2021

God's Art


While out walking this past week, I was really captivated by the sights, sounds, and smells of Spring.  I marveled at the harmony of the birds singing while also appreciating the individual voices of the different varieties of birds.  I was stopped in my tracks by a small bloom on a tree that had yellow, white, and green in a beautiful design.  All of the trees, flowers and grass are coming to life in multicolor splendor.


Romans 1:20 - For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.


Things to think about:

·       It seems to me that all art is trying to reflect or approximate what God has already created.  Whether it’s paintings, sculpture, music, literature, even the culinary arts, they all are mirrors or interpretations of the eternal creation.

o   I sometimes wonder why artists aren't the most God-fearing people on the planet.  If anyone should be able to see the beauty and complexity in creation, I would think it would be them!

·       God has given us our five senses to be able to take in what He has done.  This is both for our enjoyment but also so that we can know Him better.

o   Taste – Psalm 34:8  - taste and see that the Lord is good.

§  When we slow down our eating and enjoy the savor of delicious food, we have a picture of what it means to slow down and intentionally enjoy God’s goodness.

§  Next time you go on a walk or a car ride, keep all of your electronics off and try to be observant and mindful of God's creation all around you

o   Smell – 2 Cor. 2:14-15 - But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

§  Some smells are very pleasing and others not so much.  They can draw us in or push us away. Likewise, our works done in the name of Christ are pleasing to God.

§  They say our sense of smell is most strongly tied to our memory.  Can you smell things from your childhood right now (Grandma's house, your mom's perfume, etc.)?

o   Touch – John 21:27 – Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.

§  Smooth or rough, hot or cold, hard or soft – we use our sense of touch to better understand our world.  A small touch can make a world of difference.

§  Jesus coming as a man was God physically touching the world.

o   Hearing – Eph. 5:19 - speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord

§  Words and music have the power to heal, to praise, to teach

§  What's your favorite Christian song or hymn?

o   Sight – Genesis 1:31 – God saw that all that He had made was good.

§  It is said that our eyes are the windows to our soul.  The Bible uses light as a picture of good and darkness as bad. People will believe our testimonies by what they see, not just what they hear.


·       Slow down and intentionally take in the art gallery, symphony, and banquet God has given us. 

·       Give thanks and praise for the beauty He has created and shared.

·       Remember, you are part of the art and His masterpiece.

o   Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.

o   Psalm 139 13-14 - You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

§  We didn't come from a factory but were handmade

§  How does knowing this affect how you see yourself?  Others?