“Asheville’s Winter Son”

At the risk of seeming narcissistic, I drew this picture of myself for my dad’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Poppy!

Last Winter Martha Jo and I went on vacation and stayed at the beautiful Grove Park Inn (click to see it) in Asheville, North Carolina (thanks again to the Arnebergs for this incredible gift!).  The Inn has a huge stone back porch that overlooks the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.  It boasts a breath-taking view.  In the drawing I am sitting in a rocker, staring at the sun setting over the mountains, and smiling a the beauty that I see.  It was a moment of brilliant color and intricate design that filled me with wonder at our marvelous artist Christ, who spoke all of creation into existence and holds it together in the palm of His hands.  I can’t wait to someday see even more of the glories that God has made for us to behold…

“No eye has seen, and no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him—”   (I Corinthians 2:9)

Hank Aaron – Asterisk Free since 1974

I drew this picture for Rod Henegar, a good friend of mine who absolutely loves Hank Aaron.  When I sent Rod the drawing he sent me back this vignette which I felt compelled to post here:

Rod wrote: “Thanks so much for doing this for me.  When I was 10 years old, I was watching the news with my parents. When films showed Birmingham fire hoses turned on blacks (coloreds as my dad called them) protesting their lot at the time, I asked my parents why that was happening. They explained that the coloreds were not allowed to eat at the same counters, drink from the same fountains, use the same rest rooms, etc. I vividly recall going to my room in which my side was plastered from floor to ceiling with pictures of my hero, Henry Aaron, all carefully scissored from sport magazines and newspapers. Honestly, it was the first time I realized that my hero was “colored” and I though how sad that Mr. Aaron could not sit with me in a restaurant at the same table.

Since then, I realize how fortunate I was to choose a hero at the age of four and to have never been let down by him. Mr. Aaron has been the personification of dignity and grace. Having named my son after a man and using the number 44 so often in my work, I realize now how risky that was, especially in light of the recent removal of a statue of another sport icon.

You are the man! Thanks! I hope you enjoyed doing this.”

You can check out more about Rod by clicking here:  http://www.44productions.com/44Productions.com/products_%26_services.html

Jewel Melton – my dad

I penciled this drawing of my dad several years ago.  His name is Gerald Melton but I call him “Deddy.”  He is known as “Jewel” to all those who know him and love him.  I think that this is also the name his Heavenly Father has given him.  Jewel.  About 10 years ago Jesus Christ powerfully saved my dad.  He is a “Jewel” of God’s grace.  He is not an orphan, he has a Father – an Abba – who deeply cares for his adopted son and loves him incredibly.

To me, this is what Father’s Day is all about.  Not that my dad was a good father to me.  And not that I am a good father to my children.  But that the Heavenly Father is a good Father, a perfect Father, who loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us so that we might become children of God and have the unfailing Blessing of our Abba (Romans 8:15).   That is a Father’s Day thought to shout about.

So, Happy Father’s Day Jewel!  Happy Father’s Day Deddy! I love you!  Isn’t it great that we have the same Papa?

Lifted out of Shame – an illustration

I drew this on Saturday May 12, 2012. Shame causes us to recoil inside of ourselves.  We feel naked, exposed, and hopeless.  Praise Christ, the gospel lifts us out of our shame.

Zephaniah 3:19 says, “…I (God) will take off your disgrace, I will remove your reproach, I will deal with your oppressors and gather your outcasts, lifting them out of their shame.”

Simul Justus et Peccator – At the same time a Saint and a Sinner

This is a picture that Callie drew representing the idea of "Simul Justus et Peccator". She did the drawing and we both did the color.

“Simul Justus et Peccator” is a phrase coined by Martin Luther that may be translated: “Righteous and at the same time a Sinner.”   In making this statement Luther was making the point that every believer, in this life, is still in conflict with the sinful the nature.  Therefore, our lives are impacted by the contaminating influence of sin.  The Westminster Confession unpacks the point further:

“(Our good works) are good, in that they proceed from God’s Spirit; but as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.”

“Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, also have good works that are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking at them through his Son, is pleased to accept and reward those works which are sincere, although they are accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, “Of Good Works,” Chapter XVI, v, vi.)

Therefore, in this life, Christians will always be – “Simul Justus et Peccator – At the same time a Saint and a Sinner.”

The Only Shamegiver became the Only Shamebearer

Yesterday I preached on the issue of Shame.  I used three particular passages.  In Genesis 3 we see where Shame entered the world and how humans were cast out of the Garden to live a life of shame and disgrace.  In Leviticus 16 we see where Shame is dealt with in regard to the Scapegoat, who is cast out into the wilderness, just like Adam and Eve.  Yet, this scapegoat is not enough for us.  In Isaiah 53 we see Jesus who became the Divine Scapegoat.  He was cast out that we may be brought in.  The Only Legitimate ShameGiver became the Only legitimate ShameBearer.

During the sermon, my daughter, Callie, drew the picture to the left that emphasizes in big letters “SHAME.”  Then above the word SHAME is the phrase “He Will Give…” and underneath is the phrase “He Will Bear…”  I thought it was pretty cool.

Shame: I Kings 19:9

In continuing my meditations on Shame, I drew this picture after reading I Kings 19:9.  Shame drives us into a cave of darkness.  Our vision is distorted.  Our wounds are open.  We withdraw from community.  Like Adam and Eve, we hide ourselves from the Lord.  In this verse, we find the prophet Elijah, full of shame and fear, running from God, hiding in a cave.  All his confidence has evaporated.  His faith has dried up.  Someone must draw him out.  He is paralyzed.  He cannot save himself.  In the darkness, Christ kneels beside him and quietly and whispers, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

“There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
– 1 Kings 19:9