I’ve moved over here to my very own domain name!
My grandmother was a similar age to Billy Graham when she was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia this winter. The pneumonia turned out to be a very aggressive cancer. She passed away only 2 weeks after being diagnosed. All the reports say that Billy Graham’s case is not life threatening, but still, maybe that will happen to Billy Graham. Maybe he’ll die.
But he’ll die as BILLY GRAHAM. You get what I mean by that don’t you? There’s no doubt in most Christian’s minds about the eternal destination of Billy Graham. Ushered into the gates of Heaven. All the tweets, all the news about Billy Graham say the same thing. “Praying for Billy Graham, wonderful man of God.”
The last conversation about God that I had with my grandmother, a year before she died, she told me she didn’t “want to hear any of that Jesus crap”. She had pneumonia then, and thought she was dying. She survived that bought, but I never tried to have that conversation again. I hope that God worked a miracle as she lay dying. My mom believes He did.
But Billy Graham’s kids and grandkids will never have to wonder. They don’t have to hope. They’ll never say, “hey, I wonder if Grandpop was saved. Maybe God intervened at the last moment.” He’s Billy Graham. You know. You’ve heard it in the children’s ministry volunteer meetings. “You never know, one of these kids could grow up to be the next Billy Graham.”
Nobody ever says, “hey one of these kids might be the next Jodi Stewart.” Not even close to jealous about that, just saying, he’s set a standard in our generation. This is what a Christian is. If a Christian is known by his fruit, Billy Graham is an orchard unto himself.
Of course I’m praying (and you are too, I bet) that he’ll recover and that he’ll have many more healthy and productive years. But honestly, imagine dying as Billy Graham. Imagine showing up in Heaven not as the *next* Billy Graham, but as the real deal.
What I’m thinking about today: How can I live a life like Billy Graham. Not to be famous, but to be known by the One who matters most. To be recognized as the “real Jodi Stewart” when I finally meet Jesus face to face.
How can I live a life that will ensure that my family never has to wonder or hope when I’m gone.
When I was a kid, I went to a church that celebrated Easter. Every Good Friday my church would participate in a Cross-Walk around town. They’d put the little paper mache tomb out at the front with the rock rolled in front of the entrance. Sometimes, that Saturday there would be a candlelight Easter Vigil and sometimes my parents would go and take a watch as people waited for Easter Dawn. Easter Morning we’d all get in our new dresses and go to church to see, ta da! the rock had been rolled away in the night. He is Risen!!
Unfortunately, I was never told why. As far as I could work it out
Jesus’ cool Resurrection trick = Chocolate for Jodi
Of course, as I got older, it became more
Jesus’ cool Resurrection trick = proof that He’s God + Chocolate for Jodi
And you know what? I never even thought to ask “Why?” It was just a fact. Jesus died and in three days he rose again in accordance with the scriptures. What more do you need?
Then a friend invited me to her church. We went several times, but there was one special service that had a particular impact on me. It was this evangelist who hated rock music. He had slides of 80’s bands like Twisted Sister and Motley Crue and talked about how horrible these bands were. (I was thinking, if he thinks those guys are bad, he’d die if he saw my music collection…) But then he got to the end of his talk, and he started to explain Easter.
It wasn’t Easter weekend. But here he was, talking about Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead. And then he said why. And it changed my life.
He said that I had sinned, and the payment for that sin was death. Eternal separation from God. There was no hope for me in myself or my actions and everyone else was in the same boat. But that the Bible said that God loved me, so He had a way to make people right with Him. God had sent Jesus to die in my place to take away my sins and I could receive forgiveness from God by believing this. He said that this is the only way that God could really be fair, if someone got punished for the things I did wrong and Jesus loved me so much He was willing to be punished on my behalf. (Romans 3:21-26)
It was in that moment that God ceased to be a distant abstract being and became a loving heavenly father. Jesus was no longer an interesting historical figure that did neat things like rise from the dead, he was someone truly invested in me. Someone who loved me enough to sacrifice his own life. I was crushed under the weight of that love. If Jesus said yes to me. How could I say no to Him?
Easter is different for me now. No longer a neat supernatural trick and a reason to eat chocolate (although there is chocolate), Easter is the time of year that I recognize my need of a Savior and the sacrifice he made for me. It’s the time when I can reflect on all the ways that I totally messed up and know, despite all this, Jesus loves me and I’m forgiven. It’s a new beginning. I’m not held back by guilt, so I can move on to just love God and my neighbor.
How do you celebrate Easter in your home? Do you spend time reflecting on your need for a Savior? Are you going to eat those ears?
But I missed writing. Two things have prompted me to start a blog. This fall I took a Birkman personality assessment. I scored higher in “Literary” than my consultant had ever seen before. This means that reading and writing are my major stress relievers, the things I enjoy most. It wasn’t, be warned, an indication of talent. (You can let me know, but gently, my Birkman says I don’t do well with criticism )
Now, I’ve been thinking of blogging since the fall, but this is what pushed me over the edge. At the end of this amazing post The Inspired Housewife writes, “Are you a singer that never sings? A runner that never runs?”
NO! I’m a writer that never writes!
Well, I was. Now I guess I’m a writer that does.
Welcome to my first blog post.