Yard Work! I’m not very good at getting things to grow but I do enjoy playing in the dirt especially in the spring. Every spring creates a new opportunity to do something new. In my landscape beds, I begin by cleaning out all of last year’s growth that is now overgrown or has died. It usually takes a while – bringing out the electric shears, the weed eater and even a shovel. All the trash of last year’s joy then has to be hauled away. Plants that have gotten too large or that died during the winter have to be replaced. Then a little fertilizer brings the project near to completion.
Then one more task remains. Mulch! I like mulch. It covers up everything that you don’t want to be seen. Just pile it higher and deeper. Once it is completed, it gives your yards a completed finished look that lets all the color of the landscape stand out.
As I was getting our landscape beds ready for mulch this year, I was thinking about how mulch just covers everything that you want it to cover – much like what Jesus did on Good Friday when his death “covers” all our mistakes and shortcoming.” His covering of our sins, gives our life that “completion” that it needs to bring meaning and purpose to our lives. And unlike mulch we don’t have to replace it every year or even have to weed it every now and then that you do after you put your mulch down. God’s covering of our sins is complete!
Come celebrate Resurrection Sunday, as Christ has covered our sins and has brought completeness to our lives.
He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!
It is the Fund Raising Season! I went to three last weekend and two the week before including one of my own - the Cocke County Education Foundation "Celebrating Our Success Banquet" that was very successful! And fundraisers during the political season are usually very successful! Most fundraisers involve food of some kind - dinners, bake sales, or banquets - all kinds of things. My favorite fundraiser took place when I was in rural KY and a bunch of us were rebuilding a ballpark and needed some funds. We had a Cow Patty contest. We had a picnic, some entertainment, and then divided up an open field into squares. Brought a cow in and when the cow dropped a cow patty on your square you won part of the entry fee. We built a very nice ballpark off the money raised! A bucket list fundraiser for me would be have a Black Tie Gala in Newport to celebrate something - maybe one day. Everyone is raising a little bit of money for important causes that simply take money to operate and function. We're having our own Building Fund fundraiser in conjunction with Easter Breakfast. If you have a good need, most people are willing to help a little bit.
The success of fundraisers depends on the generosity of others. Whatever the cause – from scholarships or helping a program or attempting to reduce some medical bills for those in need – fundraisers’ success is dependent on the generosity of others. Being on the receiving end of the generosity of others is very humbling.
As we approach Palm Sunday and then Easter, I am simply overwhelmed again by the consistent generosity of God. Our fundraisers have many variables that determine whether or not it will be successful - crowds, weather, who shows up, or whatever else is happening at the same time. But not with our Heavenly Father- His generosity of love and grace are demonstrated daily regardless of schedule conflicts or sparse crowds. His love for you and me remains constant - a love that wants to love us out of our unloveable condition.
So as you go to another bake sale or some kind of dinner this week, be reminded of God's great generosity and constant love for you!
I love Opening Day! The first day of the baseball season is like no other day. Every professional baseball team is at the same place – the all have identical records. Every team is hopeful that this could be that year – the year when the .250 hitter hits .310; when the 15 home run a year hitter believes that this year he will hit 30; and that the 10 win pitcher with an ERA of 3.25 will win 20 games with a sub 2.00 ERA. Hope springs eternal. It is a new opportunity. It is a time for beginning again. Every team after opening day is either 1game up or 1 game down. Everyone still has a chance.
I think I like Opening Day for another reason. It is the time when a player can begin again. He gets to prove that last year was not a fluke year with his inflated averages or gets an opportunity to prove that he belongs on the highest level of baseball even though his last year was not very good by major league standards. Opening Day is a time of beginning again! And again.
I think that is why I like Opening Day. It has grace written all over it. It is a time to begin again. Opening Day and Lent share some common themes. We are all equal before God, we get a chance for a “do-over” and there is hope in that which is to come!
During this Lenten Season, experience the grace of an “opening day” before our Lord. Our sins have been forgiven. We live in the Hope of an new life.
Dr. Rich Lloyd
A follower of Jesus Christ. Husband to Debbie since 1980. Father to Logan, Kelsey and Jordan. Since 2000 the Pastor of the First Baptist Church Newport, Newport, Tennessee nestled in the great Smoky Mountains. A graduate of Samford University (BA '79) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv '83, ThM '85 and PhD '91). A third generation Southern Baptist minister. A serious Peyton Manning and Atlanta Braves fan!