Thursday, May 31, 2012

2 Great Examples of BEING the Church

Let me tell you a little more about the couple I married on Saturday ...

David (my son) and Lauren (my daughter-in-law) are great examples of two young adults who strive to BE THE CHURCH EVERYDAY. The love of Jesus flows through them. They make everybody who comes into their space feel comfortable and loved. They're a very romantic couple--but the way they give and sacrifice and do for each other demonstrates that their love is more than romance--it's agape, the Greek word for self-giving, sacrificial love that is used in the New Testament to describe the love of God.

When they were in high school, Lauren and David helped start a student-led group called "Teens with a Purpose" that mobilized youth to serve the community. They worked with John Adair, our youth director at the time, to organize a dance to raise money for "Baby Sawyer," to help with his medical bills. They personally contacted over 900 fellow Reynolds students through "My Space" (whatever happened to that?) and 300 of those ended up coming.

In college, David and Lauren have been very active in Love Chapel Hill, a wildly missional church that meets in a movie theater downtown and has no plans to ever dilute their mission by constructing a church building. David has lived out a passion for the homeless, both through personal relationships with homeless people, and through leading a student organization called HOPE (Homeless Outreach and Poverty Eradication). And Lauren's been right by his side. One cold night a friend of theirs came across a homeless man named Steve who was out on the street who looked like he might die from pneumonia. He called David and Lauren, and they came quickly. While Lauren started applying her nursing skills, David got on the phone and started finding a place for Steve to stay (all the regular shelters were full). Steve made it through the night, and today he's doing great. That's just one example of the ways they have been the hands and feet of Jesus in their community.

Lauren graduated from UNC with honors in nursing; David graduated from the same fine institution with honors in English. Lauren will soon go to work at Duke University Hospital in the Labor and Delivery department. David has a good summer job lined up, and then he will start graduate school in the fall. He's going for a Master of Arts in Teaching. His immediate career goal is to teach English in public schools. His ultimate goal is to be a writer, and maybe even a college professor (maybe).

Am I proud of their accomplishments? You bet. But what I'm really proud of is who they are--their hearts ... their commitment ... their daily lives. Watching them is helping me learn what it means to BE THE CHURCH EVERYDAY.


This is my daughter's turtle, Shelly. Mary got this turtle about ten years ago.  Yesterday, Shelly produced two of these ...

"So what's the big deal?" you say. "Turtles are reptiles. Reptiles lay eggs. Nothing strange about that." Yes, except for one thing: SHELLY'S A BOY! 

So what does this have to do with faith and Jesus and the church and all the things this blog is supposed to be about? Well, someday this might show up in a sermon as an illustration of some deep spiritual truth--how God surprises us, or something like that.

But for now, I just thought you'd find it interesting. A male turtle laying eggs? Strange!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One of the happiest days of my life!

On Saturday, I performed the wedding of my son David to his high school sweetheart Lauren Donaldson. It is hard to describe the deep, deep joy that I felt on that day. To see one of my children so happy ... to see the love on his and Lauren's faces ... to feel the excitement of all the friends and family who came together because they love David and Lauren so much ... to hold David and Lauren's joined hands in mine and  pronounce them husband and wife ... to present the couple by saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you my son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. David and Lauren Kayler" ... this was truly one of the happiest days of my life.