Donor Match

Donor Match

Some days seem to take forever to arrive.   As a boy, Christmas day and the last day of school seemed as though they would never come.  Like a mirage on a hot summer highway, as you move toward them, they only seemed to be further away.  But what if that long-awaited day was a matter of life and death?  What if you were waiting for a heart or liver transplant in order to live?

Those who need an organ transplant are placed on a waiting list for a donated organ. Transplant organs are matched to patients based on a large list of criteria including: blood type, tissue type, medical urgency, body size, and distance from donor hospital to recipient hospital.  The process is never based simply on your position on the list.  Unfortunately, there are a lot more people on the waiting list than there are organs available each year.

Depending on how well you are, you may wait for your organ transplant at home or in a hospital. It is impossible to anticipate exactly when one will become available.  Some people wait only a few days while for others the wait much longer, possibly many months, if at all.  The waiting, the wondering, and the worrying become all consuming.  What if it never comes?  What if no match can be found for me?  As the time passes, desperation increases and the difficulty of holding on to hope grows exponentially. And if an organ is found, the danger of the transplant and high likelihood of rejection weigh heavily.

Then the call comes – a donor match has been found — and all the emotions converge.  Hope shines in and the life-giving gift is given by another whose gift cost them everything.   While heart and liver transplants have become almost routine today, it is never routine if it is you waiting and praying for a donor match.  But what if your fatal diagnosis is more than physical?  What if you have a failing soul and spirit?  What if your heart of hearts is failing for a lack of righteousness and faithfulness?  You seek diligently some other person – a counselor, a teacher, a lover, a friend — who can give you what you need to fill that growing emptiness in your heart, to stop the metastatic corruption of sin and guilt that threatens your life for all eternity.

But no matching donor can be found.  Every teacher, every counselor, every lover, every friend, every good man or woman, every role model — they are all on the waiting list as well.   Life is ebbing away, time is ticking, a donor must be found.   But where can we find a donor match for our sin-sick soul?   This was the question posed to the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 5.  Jerusalem has been given a terminal diagnosis.  The sin-sickness of the people had metastasized into every area of their lives from worship to family life to social injustice.  God commands Jeremiah.

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
    look and take note!
Search her squares to see
    if you can find a man,
one who does justice
    and seeks truth,
that I may pardon her.    Jeremiah 5:1

Jeremiah looks everywhere.  He looks among the ordinary people.  He looks at the leaders, the wealthy, the scholars, and the movers-and-shakers.  Surely, he can find such a man among the priest and prophets.  But there is no match.  As the Psalmist said.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.  Psalm 14:3.

No even one!  No donor can be found.  The situation is desperate.   God had promised to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if only ten righteous could be found, but Jerusalem’s judgment depended on just one.  Despite Jeremiah’s diligent search no righteous man could be found.   This is the desperation of our own spiritual situation.  Dying from a depraved soul, we need a righteousness transplant.  But can a donor be found?  The good news is that a perfect donor match exists.

Jesus Christ is a perfect donor match for your diseased soul.  Made like us in every way, fully man yet fully God, His perfect obedience and atoning death on the cross make his perfect righteousness available to those who will receive it.   He alone is the way, the truth and the life.  But as with someone on the transplant list, it is not enough for the donor to be found.  The donated organ must be received by transplant.  This happens for us when we place our faith in Jesus and repent of our diseased life.  Have you received a transplanted life from Jesus?

Join us this Sunday, July 28 as we consider the good news that a donor match has been found to transplant in us the new heart we need to live.  We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.

Celebrate with Us

Celebrate with Us

This month River City Reformed Church in Little Rock, Arkansas celebrates its first anniversary as a mission congregation of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Come celebrate with us and find your place in something new growing in Midtown Little Rock.  For directions or more information about us go to https://rivercityarp.org/where-when/   #LoveLittleRock #ReformedChurch #FamilyIntegratedChurch

Breaking Faith

Breaking Faith

Mrs. Dixon’s fourth grade class was a burgeoning nest of young love.  That was the year when girls leapfrogged past spiders on the list of interesting creatures in the life of a boy.   After lunch each day we would have a half-hour or so of time dedicated for quiet study.  But the subject most pursued during this “quiet time” was the study of relational engagement.  Notes were carefully constructed, though with little imagination or variance.  “Will you ‘go with me’? Yes __ or __ ”   Who knew that romance was so straightforward?  It is ironic that young love could be reduced to a form letter.

But if, perchance, the note was returned with the ‘Yes’ box marked, things immediately got complicated.  First, the idea of “going with” someone was amorphous.  Where were we going?  Were we actually going somewhere?  Was the relationship supposed to “go somewhere?”  Sure, there was some public identification as a couple, with all the requisite teasing that accompanied each ‘go-wither’s’ gender clique, but no one knew what happened next.  Then, quickly and without warning, the euphoria of a “Yes” on that original note was followed by the crushing news from everyone that you had broken up and that your beloved was now ‘going with’ someone else.   Relationships often were born and died without anything passing between boy and girl except a note.  While pride was briefly humbled in the dust, there was little relational pain, because after all, two days and a checked box on a passed note is not a recipe for intimacy.

All this relational callousness can never prepare you, however, for the real, deep, intense pain that comes from broken love.   When that person in whom your hopes, dreams, tears, and vulnerability have been lovingly vested breaks faith and moves on, it releases intense emotional energy.  Like the splitting of the powerful bonds that hold the atom together, relational fission creates massive devastation, sweeping away those in its shock-waves.  I pray that you have not experienced this personally, but I imagine that you have.   So much invested, so much given up and now what?   With every pain, a little callousness develops, a little trust is lost, a little hope is gone.   But have you ever considered how God reacts toward us when we break faith with him and move on and away from Him — the most intimate of lovers?

The ancient prophet, Jeremiah preached during a time of both apathy and antipathy toward the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Twentieth Century prophet, Francis Schaeffer, called Jeremiah the prophet for post-modern times, because our contemporary culture, like that of Jeremiah’s day, has turned away from love for God and has moved on in its headlong pursuit of self-love in a relational fission which has ignited stunning devastation.   In his very first recorded sermon, Jeremiah makes an impassioned plea on behalf of Israel’s divine husband to leave her sordid affairs and return to her true love, lest she destroy herself in the process.

How would we react if our beloved treated us as God’s people treated Him?  And before we cast too many stones on ancient Israel, let us be honest if things are really any different with us?   How patient, how tender, how willing to reconcile would we be with such a spouse?  Yet, in this word we hear the great grace God extended to the rebellious and unfaithful who have refused the fountain of living waters to drink from stagnant and broken troughs.

Join us this Sunday, July 7 as we examine a terrible picture of spiritual unfaithfulness in Jeremiah 2:1-13 and consider the deadly consequences of abandoning God but the life giving grace He extends to us in Christ.  We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.

Ancient Paths

Ancient Paths

My father loved nothing more than a new ‘short-cut.’  He hated driving on the interstates in Atlanta and avoided them like the plague.  As an office equipment salesman, he had a good sense of the layout of the city, but his love of a new ‘short-cut’ was proverbial in our family for ‘long dangerous route that ended up getting us lost.’  On vacations, my older sister would act as navigator so when my dad could not resist the urge to ‘take the road less traveled’ she could get us back to the ‘road more reliable.’

Like my father, society today is obsessed with finding the new path, the fast-track, the short-cut.  Our evolutionary mind-set has deceived us into thinking that we are very different men than those who came before.  After all, our problems are modern problems, not like the ancient concerns of our forefathers.   Surely modern problems demand modern solutions – new paths, not the worn and rutted path of those traveling ahead of us.

But this quest for novelty pervades our thinking beyond the realm of technology into our morality and spirituality.  We clamor for a new ethic, more flexible and adapted to the shifting mores of men.   Progressive political candidates habitually call for the Church to hitch its theology to the wandering star of public opinion, rather than remain tied to some outdated idea of transcendent and absolute truth.  But what if our problems are not new?  What if they are just more technologically advanced versions of the same old problem – the problem man has faced from the very beginning?  It is a grave danger to view our problems as modern problems in need of modern solutions.  As one theologian has noted, “what modern problems need are ancient solutions.”

The men of the prophet Jeremiah’s day faced social, spiritual, and national ruin.  Caught in the crossfire of colliding world powers, they looked to modern solutions — globalism, multi-culturalism, and nationalism, rather than return to the ancient paths found in God’s Word.  They were masters of compromise and political intrigue.  Pragmatism was their only core conviction.  ‘Go along to get along’ was their motto.  But to no avail.  Their departure from God’s Word led them further and further from the only path to peace.

Though the people left God behind, He did not leave them.  He sent His Word and His prophet, Jeremiah, warning them not to follow the empty traditions of their fathers or adopt the modern mantra, ‘coexist.’  Jeremiah charges them sternly.

 Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  Jeremiah 6:16

Take note of their response – “we will not walk in it.”  Sound familiar?  How like us, whose pride scoffs at anything we did not devise.   “How foolish,” we say, “to look to at outdated ideas like faith and repentance.  How narrow-minded and unscientific to believe in the God of the Bible.”  We must look to ourselves.  Solve our own problems.  But the only solutions to uniquely modern problems are the ancient ones revealed by a God who stands above and beyond time.

Join us this Sunday, June 23, as we look at the words of Jeremiah and consider how this ancient preacher speaks to our modern concerns with amazing relevance and clarity.  We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.

Big Shoes

Big Shoes

I admit it, it was afraid of the prospect of changing diapers.  When my first child was born, I told my wife I needed to change that first diaper so I could conquer my fears from the get-go.  But I had not done my homework.  I was not prepared for meconium. It was more than I had bargained for – much more.   But meconium was not the most shocking aspect of becoming a father.  Most unexpected was the realization that my children would look at me, the way I had looked at my own father.  I never for an instant believed that he did not know how to handle any and every situation. He always seemed to have a plan, to have things under control — except that is when he attempted to fix household appliances.

But as a new dad, I was painfully aware that I did not know how to handle any and every situation.  I did not always have a plan, nor did I have things under control.   As a child my confidence in my father made the uncertain certain, and made the impossible possible.  He taught me to plan, to write, to teach.  He taught me the importance of serving others, and in particular, of serving Christ.  He had his faults to be sure, but I am thankful to be my father’s son.  His shoes were very big.  I sat with him as he drew his last breath in this life.  I was surprised by an overwhelming sense of being untethered as he left us.  Though I was almost fifty years old with seven children of my own, the thought of a world without my father seemed unexpectedly daunting.

Our fathers define us.  Either by their place in our lives, or by their absence.  Some infused us with strength and confidence, while others saddled us with weakness and insecurity.   In one way or another we are all shaped by fatherhood.   But no Father-figure has more power to shape us than our Heavenly Father.  Unlike earthly fathers, our unbounded faith and confidence in Him is never misplaced.  Unlike our own fathers, every promise of His gets kept.  No sin or circumstance crashes in to derail his best intentions or unveil some sinister aspect of his character.   He is good and his steadfast love endures forever.  His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great.  There is no shadow of turning with Him.  Not one of His promises ever fails and not one of His words ever falls flat.   Without Him we are truly untethered.

When Jesus’ disciples came to Him and asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” Jesus taught them the pattern of prayer we commonly call, ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’  We have heard it so many times that it is hard to grasp how revolutionary it is.  The religious men of Jesus’ day spoke about God as their Father, but they never addressed Him as ‘Father.’  But Jesus taught us that God, our Father, delights in us.  He loves for us to draw near.  He wants us to call Him, ‘Father.’ He has gone to unimaginable lengths, in sending His only begotten Son, to adopt us as His own.  He promises to love us as we have never been loved, care for us, save us, sustain us, instruct us, and give us life.

Fatherhood defines us.  And God is the one who defines fatherhood.  This Father’s Day, June 16, celebrate the World’s Greatest Father with us as we gather to worship Him as His adopted sons and daughters.  River City Reformed Church meets from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.

Go West, Young Man!

Go West, Young Man!

Long before Horace Greely penned those now famous words, “Go West Young Man,” the Apostle Paul heeded the call of the Man of Macedonia to go west to plant churches on a whole new continent.  He had formulated another plan, he thought he knew where he was headed, but the Holy Spirit changed his itinerary.

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Acts 16:9

Paul answered the call to ‘go west’ and the gospel was planted began to take root in Europe.  The cultures there were very different. Support was uncertain.  And Paul had to adapt his usual modus operandi to engage cities without synagogues or significant Jewish enclaves.  But he went.

What about you?  You have your plans to serve, but what if God is calling you to “go west?”  What if God is calling you to Arkansas?  Come over and help us plant and grow Reformed Churches in the west.   The culture is different.  The support is uncertain.  But the need is great.   Find out more by checking out  why we need another church in Little Rock. Or contact us.

Graduation Gifts

Graduation Gifts

It is that time of year.   The time when graduation invitations compete with gardening catalogues for space in our mailbox.  With each invitation comes the challenge of selecting the perfect gift – a gift that reflects the interests and achievements of the graduate, yet communicates a larger vision for their future.  What will you get for the graduate in your life?  Graduates, what gifts do you hope to receive?  When I graduated, the most popular gifts were Cross Pen and Pencil sets, inspirational books, written especially for the graduation gift market by positivity-power gurus, and the perennial favorite of graduates, cash.  I appreciated the kindness of the givers – especially those who gave money – but none of the gifts challenged me with a vision for the next step.

Many graduation gifts are congratulatory, but not visionary.  Graduation is often celebrated as the last step and not the next step. But the word graduation inherently anticipates the next step, which is why it is sometimes called ‘commencement.’  Like a mark on a graduated cylinder, graduation is the line that marks the beginning of the next stage of life.  What is now behind was preparation for what is ahead.   The entire focus is on what is next.  What will our gifts communicate about the next step?  What vision will our gifts paint for our graduates, for their future, their identity and their way of life?

At the end of the Gospel of Matthew we encounter a remarkable graduation of sorts.  Jesus’ time with his disciples has come to an end.  Their three years watching him, learning from him, loving him, and following him in his earthly ministry are giving way to what is next – making disciples of the nations by going, baptizing and teaching in the power of the Holy Spirit which he sends.  The disciples have graduated from the rabbinic school of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They no longer call him Teacher.   Now he is Lord.  Their language has radically changed and their lives are about to radically change as well.

Jesus has summoned them to a mountain in Galilee to receive their commission, to graduate to the next step in their calling to follow Him.  They were moving out and into uncharted territory, leaving the comforts of the homes and towns they knew so well without the visible presence of the teacher who had guided them every day for three years.  Jesus calls them to a mountain top to give them a vision, not of what they can potentially do if they work hard enough, but a vision of what He will do by working in and through them.  Jesus gives them gifts – a vision, an identity, and a way of life – that will turn the world upside down.

Join us this Sunday, April 28, as we examine Matthew 28:16-20 and consider the vision, identity and way of life that Christ gives us as He turns the world upside down through the work of His Church in the world.  We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock.  Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.