David Bowie Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me…

In another world, in a different time, David Bowie sang that it was time to turn and face the strange changes

Indeed.

In the same song, he also said he didn’t want to be a richer man, instead, he was just gonna have to be a different man.

Yes, indeed.

While I wouldn’t sneeze at the opportunity to be a little more financially independent, being rich materialistically is not one of my life-shaping goals.

I’m just gonna have to be a different man.

How many times can a guy say indeed in one blog post?
Apparently, at least five times…

So once again, indeed.

I am just gonna have to be a different man and I am.

Strange changes abound. Strange changes indeed.

I suspect as long as I am alive, there will occasionally be moments of anger and pain, heartache and rage–yes, joy comes in the morning, but there are plenty more nights of questions and grief to come.

And I am ok with that.

Indeed (somebody stop me…).
There’s one of those strange changes… I have learned to not be afraid of it–grief serves its purpose and while tears can be bitter, they can also be cleansing…

I am thankful for many of the changes in my life.
I am thankful for lessons learned.

My reality has changed.
I am enjoying life.
To quote the Foo Fighters, who will have their own post fairly soon (as in almost done), I am learning to walk again…

Strange Changes.

I am wrestling with a new name for my blog. Desperately Wanting to Believe Again has served it’s purpose. I never quit believing. I do believe. I still struggle with trust at times, but I trust God even if I don’t always understand.

I am done with bitterness. I may be bitter at times or for a moment, but I never want to embrace bitterness again.

I may still have hurt. Pain will raise itself once in awhile, but I never want to be that guy again whose hurt turns him into a pariah.

It’s time to move forward.
It’s time time live again.
And I am.
I am.

Ok. So I am blathering on like the crazy strange man I am.

Four more things:

1. I am going to recommit to writing here more often–giving it the good old college try (whatever that means).

2. I am going to make significant progress on my book (call the first two New Year resolutions if you want).

3. If you have an idea for a new blog name reflecting my new reality, please share it ASAP.

4. Here’s a sermon from the first Sunday of 2015 (last week)–it ends with what I call a story of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation…

God bless and Happy New Year!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

and oh yeah, one more piece of happiness…

My beautiful wife and our new house in Madison, Mississippi! (This picture was from yesterday–after we closed on the house!)

New_house

Foolishness, Part 1

I need to be writing more, but family and ministry consumes me… And for that I am glad. No complaints here…

I did muster the courage to write a new chapter for my book project… One day, one day…

In the meantime, I would like to share the sort of transcript of a sermon recently preached here at Lake Harbour Drive… I need to appease the two or three readers I have left!

Foolishness?

Proverbs 26:1-12…

Good morning and welcome! Today we are taking a ride on the Fool Train—I am your conductor and engineer all rolled into one. It’s a fast ride—faster than you might expect and you are going to need to hold on tight and pay attention…

The first thing we need to do is illustrate the difference between one who isn’t and one who is…

Over the years, Dean Kamen has had his detractors, but in the long run, he has the chops to prove his worth. An American inventor, the maker of the Segway, he has his hands in lots of radical sounding stuff that ultimately proves real. If he shows up today and wants to share something wild and crazy, I am going to pay careful attention.

But then there is a guy named Joseph Newman. He’s a Mississippi fellow hailing from Lucedale, down south in George County. Have you ever heard of perpetual motion? It’s the stuff of dreams and legends. As a young boy I remember vividly reading stories and accounts of men who had supposedly done the unthinkable. Yes, that’s the claim of Joseph Newton—one he is still pursuing in spite of being shut down here and their for fraudulent activity.

But as long as we are taking a ride on the fool train, is there anybody here who would like to invest in this motor? It’s a perpetual motion machine and if I could just get around thirty people to invest $100 each, we’d be on easy street in just a few short weeks!

Some of you are looking at me like I am an idiot.

Some of you might like to say something like my father did when we came to him with some harebrained idea, “Do you think I was born yesterday?”

You know what they say?

A fool and his money are soon parted!

For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Some things are just foolish!

But on the other hand, this crazy ride on the Fool train might just convince you that being a fool is majorly cool! Because the crazy truth is we serve a God who uses foolishness to confound and defeat enemies and sin!

Here’s an Old Testament example: Do you remember the story of Gideon and the Midianites? Judges 7:1-21…

God has Gideon gut his army down to 300 men who are armed with nothing more than a trumpet, a pitcher, and a torch.

And with the most foolish weapons of war one could ever imagine, the might of the Midianites was destroyed!

Who in their right mind does battle with a trumpet, a pitcher, and a torch? To us, it’s foolishness, but to those who followed God, it was victory!

As we move to a New Testament example, I want to remind you of Deuteronomy 21:22-23… If anyone is found guilty of an offense deserving the death penalty and is executed, and you hang his body on a tree, you are not to leave his corpse on the tree overnight but are to bury him that day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

In the ancient world of Jesus, in the world of Peter, Paul, and the other Apostles, the idea of a crucified man being humanity’s salvation was just utter foolishness.

Nothing brought greater shame and humiliation than being put to death on a Cross.

To claim power and redemption from the weak instead of the strong was pure craziness.

Nobody was more humiliated or weaker than the poor soul hanging from a tree!

1 Corinthians 1:18-25…

Foolishness!

Because Satan goes to war against God, a wedge is driven between Creator and the created. 

Paradise is destroyed.

Ugliness rules, but foolishness reigns supreme!

What is foolishness to the world—a God dying on a Cross–is simply the amazing love of God!

When Peter confesses Jesus as Lord in Matthew 16, Jesus tells us something that cuts against the grain–and to our ears maybe even sounds crazy or foolish.

Matthew 16:18, And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

The gates of Hades will not overcome it is the phrase in question.

Obviously this is about church, but what about gates? Are gates defensive or offensive? They are defensive! Nobody attacks with a gate!

So think about it: who is attacking the realm of the dead/ who is being defended?

It’s pretty common to see the church not being overrun by Hades but here’s the problem with that: the church is the one attacking!

Through the foolishness of the Cross, through the craziness of God’s plan, the church–us–me–you–we are attacking the realm of the dead! We are denying Satan his power of sin and death!

1 Corinthians 15:55-57, Death, where is your victory?
Death, where is your sting?
Now the sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!

God’s foolishness is power!

The message of Christianity is counter culture to the message of the world! The world is all about wielding power. It’s about logic and rules. It’s about influence and one-upmanship. Remember the old saying he who has the most toys wins? That’s the message of the world!

But Christianity? It’s a message of foolishness. It’s a message of faith and trust and throwing out all the logic we order our lives by.

Christianity is a message of foolishness, the foolishness of a God who would die on a cross!

Who wants to be a fool? I do! And as it turns out, the Fool Train is exactly where I want to be!

Quickly, let me share with you three things–foolish in the eyes of the world–that can make a major difference in your life–three things that ought to be characteristic of fools for Christ!

  • Pray! Prayer is our constant source of strength and communication with God. Paul urges us to pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17). It’s an attitude/ way of life that seeks to be constantly connected to the source of everything–it’s an act of trust and submission—the recognition that we are not the supreme authority. Like any other oxymoron, can you really be a Christian and not be a person of prayer?
  • Serve! Being a servant is the epitome of Christianity (how foolish is that—he who would be first is last)! It’s what Jesus did, as our suffering servant! The world doesn’t want to serve but be served and that’s exactly what we should do. Jesus said to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile–that’s service. Paul said to serve one another in love.
  • Live!I don’t mean just exist, but live. Paul tells us in Philippians to do everything without complaining and arguing–to shine. Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him… Give God glory in good or bad and watch what happens! Live every moment for Him!

 A fool for Christ?

Foolishness is God’s way of changing the world.

Isn’t it time to be a fool for Him?