“T” Is for Theodore

    “T” Is for Theodore  

“T” is for Theodore.  Someone once told me that his name was Ted or Teddie, but not Theodore because his mother couldn’t afford Theodore, only Teddie! 

The fellowship of First Baptist Church at Conshohocken can’t afford not to have another Ted, it being utterly irrelevant whether we can afford Theodore; we know we can’t afford our life and ministry without a brother named Ted Tarloski. 

I first met the brother in question at a funeral I conducted in late-2003.  He surprised me by showing up for church a few weeks later, right around the Christmas season.  And, wouldn’t you know, he stuck.

The Autumnal Amen

God’s Word provides a revelation that is singular because it is special, special in that the substance of its teaching can’t be found anywhere but within its pages.  No where else can one learn of God so intimately and intricately as in Holy Scripture.

It is only here, for instance that one can know of God’s exquisite love.  No philosopher or scientist would even dream, let alone posit, love as being integral to the very nature of God, yet Scripture does just this.

“God is love,” wrote the Apostle John (I John 4:8).  He didn’t say merely that God is inclined towards loving and being loveable; He stated categorically that God is love.  The human intellect might actually wince upon hearing such a proposition. 

That Which Awaits Us (Is Already Here!)

No one wants to die.  It is a categorical assertion that holds true with few exceptions. 

The terminally ill who are in excruciating pain or utterly exhausted don’t so much want to die as  to be free of this oppressive existence.  Few or none would reject a miracle cure with a one hundred percent rate of success. 

Islamic terrorists are more mindful of what they think awaits them than the actual act of dying, though they don’t appear to have any problem with the death of others.

The loss of a beloved spouse can put a dent into one’s desire to live.  Here are three categories of persons who buck an otherwise clear and compelling fact:  We all want to live. None wishes to die. 

Heavenly Hope amidst Cape Cod Charm

Memory is bittersweet.  Some days “bitter” is accentuated and other days “sweet” is highlighted.  And then there are those moments when the two are inextricably intertwined.  My forthcoming holiday will be one of those times.

We are off to Cape Cod for several days.  My step-daughter and lovely little grand-daughter (I am constitutionally incapable of mentioning her without the qualifying description!) are joining us for what will serve as a bittersweet week, at least for me. 

You see, I spent many a summer season on Cape Cod with my beloved parents.  They introduced me to its charms.  My father’s family had an aggregate of cottages on a corner plot of land in South Yarmouth, a mere hour-and-a-half from Boston.

An Allergic Avalanche

    It is that time of year.  It always surprises me, even though I know its coming.  I ready myself annually, yet I am still taken aback when it actually arrives.  It nibbles and entwines and pounces … and then …

The arrival of an allergic attack is like an avalanche in full vigor.  It is simply an explosion that sends you descending downward, and whether you are spiraling or tumbling or nose-diving simply does not matter; regardless, it is monstrous!

This year I have been treated to some entirely new and sinister sensations, sensations that have been specially prepared for my 48th year on this planet and my 25th year of allergic avalanches.  They call it a silver anniversary, don’t they? 

A Work of the Heart

A few of the men from my church joined me earlier this summer for a trip to Independence Hall.  One man had never been inside over the course of 62 years.  It was a delightful day of fellowship and history.

The men who convened at Independence Hall in 1776 and again in 1787 were brilliant intellects who conceived both independence and a democratic republic.  But the ideas that were conceived in their minds had long fermented in their hearts.

They loved the concept and practice of liberty.  You and I enjoy the fruits of their sacrificial labor, just as countless Europeans and Asians profit via the sacrificial labors of the World War II-era American GI. 

A Beauty Spawned by Love

     Aesthetics is the study of beauty.  Philosophy departments at colleges and universities offer courses in the subject.  Books have been written.  I love the title of one by Immanuel Kant, On the Sublime and Beautiful.

What constitutes beauty?  A number of things, I suppose, not least of which is the fruit, and not merely the fact, of beauty.  Mere facts reduce the truth to a caricature of definition or a series of axioms, or (in the case of beauty) mere appearance.

The great beauties of Hollywood are cases in point.  Many of them were stunning on screen, their beauty lending a charisma of presence to a film.  But it is best we only know them on screen.  Beauty must be more than the trappings of celluloid.

Construction Thoughts

    I am pleased to report that construction on the interior of our new church building has begun.  We are embarking upon a partial fit-out, meaning that we are working to complete our Fellowship Hall, church nursery and office and lavatories. 

That will be enough to get us into our building.  We don’t as of yet have all the money we need to do even that, but we have always found God to be faithful, regardless of whether we are faithful or faithless.

The Lord had lain upon my heart from the very inception of planning for a new church building that we would have our building (i.e. stone and mortar) when He had His building (i.e. His people).

God’s Love for Sinful Man

Please attend to the following definition across which I have come in recent days:

“The gospel is the good news of God’s saving activity in the person and work of Christ.  This includes his incarnation in which he took to himself full (yet sinless) human nature; his sinless life which fulfilled the perfect law of God; his substitutionary death which paid the penalty for man’s sin and satisfied the righteous wrath of God; his resurrection demonstrating God’s satisfaction with his sacrifice; and his glorification and ascension to the right hand of the Father where he now reigns and intercedes for the church.

The Significance of Jesus

How does one begin to discuss the significance of Jesus Christ?  One runs the risk of presumption, in the very least, let alone deficiency of description. 

His Name amounts to everything from lip-service to religious musak.  It makes some people nervous, others violent, still others sentimental; for some, His Name is Life.

We date history by His birth.  An entire civilization has been labeled “Christian.”  His mode of execution has come to adorn everything from cemeteries to ear-lobes.
His birth and resurrection remain watersheds of each calendar year.

Who was He?  He was born Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph the carpenter and Mary, his young bride. 

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