I'll never forget shopping for a cross about 30 years ago in a big mall jewelry store near Edison, New Jersey.
When I asked the salesguy if he'd let me see the store's stock of crosses, he asked, "Do you want one with or without the little man on it?"
I've been thinking about that question ever since.
I used to scoff at seminarians who wore such big and heavy crosses that they slumped over while strolling to Greek classes on early Monday mornings.
Truth is my generation of guys has never been big on jewelry; primarily because we've got so many "image" hang-ups if you know what I mean.
But when I found myself slipping into sin more often than not, I decided to start wearing some highly symbolic jewelry to remind myself of who I want to be rather than to ward off...
I wear two rings.
The wedding band is a no-brainer.
The other was crafted and purchased in a small jewelry store just outside of the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, Israel. The band symbolizes the Western Wall of the Temple to remind me of my roots in Judaism and to caution Americans about Biblical prophecies related to countries that forget that bond. It also has a gold inlay of the Ten Commandments; because, well, uh, you know how easy it is to...
Until last night when I lost 'em, I wore two crosses.
One was made of nails by a local craftsman and presbyter to remind me of what He did for me and what I must do for Him to prove faith's veracity.
The other was given to me at ordination by, uh, me. It was so beautiful. It was the cross that was used as the symbol for my old franchise; which was replaced by the ridiculous-fixed-in-faddish-time-looking one when my "Presbyterian" franchise in the North got back together with their "Presbyterian" franchise in the South in the early 80s: a prominent Celtic cross surrounded by porcelain inlays of other symbols highlighting God's sovereignty, Holy Spirit, Biblical revelation, and mission.
The porcelain had chipped over the years.
I can replace the nail cross; and, actually, I already have with the one that I wear on Sundays that was made by the same craftsman and peer. It's as big and heavy and obnoxious-looking-when-worn-in-public as those crosses that used to draw my derision back in seminary; and it's causing me to slump over even more than what time, I mean pastoral ministry, has already done pour moi.
I cannot replace the other one.
I cannot seem to replace what happened to that franchise either.
KD's 6/15 edition (scroll down) caught the attention of subscribers from Ohio, Florida, and New Jersey:
Ohio: "Tithes and offerings are recession proof. If the members of your church were tithers, there would be plenty of money to pay expenses, care for the poor, send missionaries, and build an addition. Too many are blaming the recession for what is really a tithing problem."
Florida: "I liked your approach. I liked it so much that I'm stealing part of it for my own 'OMG Ain't It Awful!" letter. Why didn't you tell them that the national church has already laid off tons of folks and has cut way back on just about everything? Your problem is mirrored throughout the country as people are clutching on to what they fear the socialists in D.C. are gonna take from them anyway. Bob, it's a widespread reality. No one is crying wolf. The wolf is at the door."
Tough times don't build character. They expose it. We're not responsible for what they say and do - my lost franchise cross (metaphor, silly) comes to mind - but rather we're only absolutely responsible for what we say and do. I don't know why, but I'm thinking of a few lines from Mark Driscoll about now: "If you die as a non-Christian, this life will be as close to heaven as you will ever experience, and nothing but hell awaits you. But if you die as a Christian, this life will be as close to hell as you will ever experience, and nothing but heaven awaits you."
New Jersey: "This was a beautiful, heartfelt letter, which, of course, made me cry: 'Until He comes or calls me home, we trust in the Lord!'"
I don't believe in chance.
Yeah, I am responsible for my choices; buuuuuuut I don't believe in chance.
I lost the little crosses for a reason.
I've got to wear this heavy one now.
Blessings and Love!
Click on www.koppdisclosure.com before you lose it!
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