Welcome to my blog! I want to introduce myself by showing you the old farm house in Kansas where I spent the first 21 ½ years of my life, up until the actual day that I married Linda.
We drove by the old house in January. We stopped; I snapped a few pictures, then just leaned on the modern gate and stared at the boarded up house. Linda sat in the car thinking, “Oh, Oh, now he’s going to cry.” The tears didn’t flow that day, unusual for me, but the old house, all boarded up, stirred my thoughts.
What lies behind the boarded up windows of your childhood home?
Forrest Gump comes to mind, where Jenny’s childhood home held only the cruel memories of terrifying abuse in the place that is supposed to be safe.
By God’s grace, that is not my story. So what lies behind my home’s boarded up windows? Life. Eating and sleeping, laughing and crying, sweating and shivering (no central heat or air conditioning here), playing and fighting (I’m the middle of five children), working on the farm (I drove the tractor for the first time at age five).
More than all this, the precious memory of life inside this old house is the scene around the breakfast table. Yes, families used to eat together, three meals a day with each one at their assigned seat around the table. Every morning, Daddy and Mama would alternate reading a chapter from the Bible and leading us in prayer as we knelt at our chairs.
Critics would say they didn’t do much to make the Bible stories relevant to children. But they read it all, every word, no matter how depraved the scenes of sinfulness nor how explicit the references to sexuality (they looked very serious during these readings and we asked no questions). But they knew it was God’s Word and was not to be read selectively. Thus I share the great heritage of Timothy in the New Testament.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV)
Don’t get me wrong. Life wasn’t perfect in this old house. But I was given the gift of love and the foundation of God speaking into my life from the start. Now, as a pastor for 33 years, that is the gift I want to share with you.
I may spout off on a whole range of issues here, showing my own bias and prejudice along the way, most of them embracing or reacting to ideas first kicked around in this old house. But regardless of what I say, if I can give you the gift of love for the Bible and for the God you meet there, I will have fulfilled my goal.
And the Good news is that even if your childhood was more like Jenny’s instead of mine, God will meet you in the pages of the Bible too and you may recognize His grace in ways more vivid than I have yet seen.