Monday, December 31, 2007

Playing catch

I was thinking about how much fun it was to play catch with my Dad.  Often, after dinner and following his long work day he'd grab his baseball glove and I'd get mine and we'd toss a ball back and forth for a half hour or so.  I remember the satisfaction of making the catch and also the good feeling about throwing it back.  It really was a bonding time and a time when we'd talk about how things were going.  I am privileged to have the legacy of parents and grandparents who invested love into my life.  This Christmas I had a special gift request.  My grandpa Jackson fought in World War I and somehow I inherited a few of his war memorabilia, including his dog tags.  I asked for one of the tags to be put on a chain and I was so happy when my wife presented me with the present Christmas day.  I wanted to keep something of him close because I know he really loved me.  Now I have a grandson and when I see him my heart leaps and we play together and the generations between us melt away.  More and more I see that life is a game of catch, where the joy comes from both throwing and receiving love.
Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children,
                    so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

                 14 for he knows how we are formed, 
                     he remembers that we are dust.


Rob Smith

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Long train

A friend of mine in the choir has written a great song about the Gospel Train...kind of a bluegrass song that talks about hitching your railcar to Jesus' train bound for eternity.  I was thinking about the picture of a train as an analogy for the Church.  Did you know that these long coal trains that we see rumbling by our area every day can have as many as 200 cars and can stretch out 2 miles in length.  As someone commented, it would be better to travel in the engine than the get to your destination a lot sooner!  The diesel locomotives have about 4,000 horsepower...Wow!  Of course the Gospel train has the powerful locomotive of our Lord to carry us up grades, around curves and down narrow passes.  Just as the coal trains faithfully deliver their freight to the coal terminals in Newport News, so Jesus carries us to glory, without fail.  Yes, the Gospel Train is a long one, with a mighty powerful engine.  I have a strong feeling that there's still enough power to add some more cars to the train.  Next time the train stops in your town I recommend you hitch up for the ride!
2 Chronicles 34:29-31 The king acted immediately, assembling all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem, and then proceeding to The Temple of God bringing everyone in his train—priests and prophets and people ranging from the least to the greatest. Then he read out publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant that was found in The Temple of God.
Rob Smith

Friday, December 28, 2007

Transparent living...remember He sees all

I remember during the first few months of our marriage we adopted a stray cat we found wandering around the parking lot of our church.  We called him Moses because he seemed to be a "stranger wandering in the wilderness".  One weekend we were travelling somewhere and we stayed overnight with Moses at a motel.  Somehow, during the night, Moses had been active and played with the cords that controlled the drapes across the picture window right next to our bed.  Somehow he opened them completely.  We awoke to a bright sunshiny morning and I realized that the whole world could see us in bed through the window!  Of course, there are no drapes between us and the Lord.  He truly sees all, including the things happening in our heads that no one else can see.  At first that's kind of a scary thought, but really it provides great freedom.  It's a good thing to realize that there is absolutely no point in lying, cheating, stealing or any of the other things we know we shouldn't do because He sees it all and He isn't fooled.  Really life is much easier to live when we realize that the drapes are wide open and the Lord is looking in.  Why waste time trying to fool anyone!
Job 34:21 "His eyes are on the ways of men;
                he sees their every step.

           22 There is no dark place, no deep shadow, 
               where evildoers can hide.


Rob Smith

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Four Dimensions

A close friend of ours is currently undergoing a severe physical trial.  Her internal circuits are misfiring a bit and her body is experiencing some power failures.  But she isn't having any loss of power from her heavenly life source.  The Lord is holding her and she is keenly aware of that.  As I reflected on the fact that we have some of our most intimate times with the Lord when we are weakest I realized that God really has us covered.  At all times He (1) holds us up with His strength, (2) blankets us with His presence, (3) fills us with His spirit and (4) shields us from harm.  I think we become most aware of these realities when our natural strength is diminished.  Please pray for our friend that she would recover completely and be restored to health.  We can rejoice with her that she is presently experiencing the four dimensions of God's presence even now in her weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Rob Smith

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas and Children

Christmas is a children's story because Christmas is the story of the most special child ever.  When God decided to come to live with us, He could have come as a grown man.  He decided to walk through the same door, the door of childhood, that all of us do.  And so He grew up just like all little boys and girls grow up.  He played and He learned to obey parents.  He experienced the love of a Mom and Dad who were dedicated to raising Him.  No doubt He experienced some cuts and bruises, and probably enjoyed friendships (and perhaps dealt with some social rejections).  Just like us, Jesus gradually grew by stages into maturity.  But I think the most profound truth is that we remain children even as adults.  We may have acquired a measure of wisdom to help us navigate life's trials and to manage relationships and to meet life's responsibilities....but in the larger, eternal sense we will forever be children...children of the Lord.  It's kind of interesting that the most mature attitude we find in this life leads to the ultimate child experience.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Christmas blessings,
Rob Smith

Monday, December 24, 2007

How will you live (not how will you die)

Almost every day there will be some kind of news story that addresses major illnesses or 'life and death' health issues.  We tend to think a lot about not dying and about continuing physical life as long as possible.  But I sometimes think our focus is too much on quantity over quality.  Sure, it would be great to live to a hundred and die peacefully in our sleep, having just completed a fine meal and a final winning chess match.  But what are we doing now, when we are in the midst of our strength and our vitality?   Tomorrow we celebrate a new life on earth..the earthly life of Jesus, as it began in Bethlehem.  Next week we each begin a new year on planet earth, ourselves.  I wonder if we can adopt the fresh attitude that the Lord has something for us each day...something tightly linked to our close walk with Him.  When Jesus challenged the disciples to follow Him they didn't know where they would be going, but it didn't matter because they were never lost as long as they could see Him just ahead.
Matthew 4:22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Matthew 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 
Christmas Eve blessings,
Rob Smith

Weight Loss

I had been driving around with an expired driver's license for a few months (I know...I'm ashamed).  I just couldn't seem to get to the DMV when they were open and the one time I did go they told me I needed a birth I had to go back.  Well, for a few months I carried a background fear that I might get stopped by the police and "discovered" as an unlicensed driver.  Finally, I was able to renew the license this weekend.  I can't tell you how relieved I've felt driving since then.  Several times I've had the thought: "OK, you can pull me over now...I'm legal enough to get a ticket".  I know that sounds silly, buy it really has been a relief to have this guilt resolved and this burden lifted.  In a sense, I'm reminded that when wrongs are made right in our lives we experience a spiritual "weight loss" and you really can feel the difference.  Can you remember the time you realized that Jesus had come to lift all your faults and sins from your bowed shoulders.  Wasn't it wonderful when you knelt before Him and asked Him to take away those weights?  Didn't you feel cleaner and lighter and truly free?  There will be a lot of post-holiday diets proposed this year and many New Year's weight loss resolutions but I don't think any of them can hold a candle to repentance and the release that comes from forgiveness!
John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
blessings (drive carefully everyone),
Rob Smith

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Roadside Crosses

You've seen those white roadside crosses.  They mark the location of fatal car wrecks and usually have names and dates painted on.  Of course they are tragic reminders of the daily dangers we all face on the roads.  Many of them have been decorated for Christmas with wreathes or red ribbons.  I was thinking today about those crosses and why family members would want to mark the spot that represents a great tragedy in their lives.  The answer came to mind that it is important to those folks to think about the last place their loved one was alive.  It helps put them in touch with the person they were never able to say goodbye to.  Of course it makes me think about the original cross that marked Jesus' death.  We choose to remember that cross too...but instead of representing the last place a loved one lived, for many of us, it marks the place we finally came alive, as we came to realize what was accomplished through that cross.  I hope you have discovered the personal death and life message that the splintered cross of calvary carries for you!
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Rob Smith

Friday, December 21, 2007

Is it really exercise?

Is it really exercise when you don't go anywhere?  That's the thought I had tonight as I cross-country skied for an hour to nowhere on my Nordic Track machine.  Based on the sweat and fatigue that accumulated it sure felt like a good workout...and I didn't have to pound any joints or brave cold temperatures.  Actually I'm sure the exercise counted and can only help my physical condition.  But sometimes I think we go through motions in our quest to follow the Lord that aren't fruitful.  You know, when we push our body we have real tangible measures like heart rate and body temperature and we can measure how fast and how long and how many repetitions we do things.  Over time we can see improvements in our health.  It may be worthwhile to consider how our spiritual exercises are drawing our heart closer, warming us to His presence and creating an increased desire to be with, and hear from, the Lord who loves us so.  Consider the words of the apostle Paul: 1 Corinthians 9:25 "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air."
blessings to all you heavy breathers,
Rob Smith 

drama of a raindrop

I was considering how raindrops are formed.  It's all very interesting.  It turns out that two opposing forces have a lot to do with it.  The updrafts of air from the earth hold clouds up in the air (clouds are made of water vapor and are heavier than air).  Once some of the water droplets that make up the cloud get to a certain size, gravity overcomes the rising force of the air, and the droplets fall to earth as rain.  Scientists still don't understand how the water droplets build in size.  One intriguing aspect: thunderstorms have much stronger thermal updrafts and with the greater force of air moving up, much larger water droplets can stay aloft until heavy enough to we get larger raindrops during these storms.  Like so much of life the drama of a raindrop is defined by two opposing forces.  In our lives our "inner life" or spiritual life can float like a very small water droplet held up by the forces of earthly desire and self satisfaction.  Some kind of wonderful process led by the Holy Spirit helps our little water droplet build in mass.  Swirling forces in our "life cloud" bring more water and once our droplet has enough weight we finally can be acted on by gravity and brought to a new world.  Just as the storms permit larger raindrops, so we grow more in size in our personal storms.  Rain and clouds are far more dynamic than I realized and the raindrops within lives all around us are building all the time.
Leviticus 26:4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Rob Smith

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our all in all

One final observation from singing in the Christmas concerts last week: We were keenly aware of our need for the Lord's help to sing and perform well and so we prayed for His assistance.  It struck me as interesting that we came to Him for help so that we could effectively praise Him and lift Him up so that others might catch a glimpse or hear from Him.  In a sense this seems a microcosm of how our lives are to play out.  He is our all in all.  The Lord is our strength so that we can return glory to Him and one wonderful outcome is that others might also have faith awakened.  Just like the Lord...our source and our purpose...beginning and end...."the way, the truth and the life".
Job 26:2 “How have you helped him who is without power?
      How have you saved the arm that has no strength?
Rob Smith

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Power in Discipline

Today we made a business trip to Northern Virginia to meet with clients.  I had the privilege of riding in the passenger seat and letting my mind wander a bit.  Traffic was heavy and there were a number of large tractor-trailers and other trucks around us.  In many places the highway was several lanes wide and the total tonnage of vehicles running along side-by-side was scarily high.  I thought about those modest white painted lines that separated us from the elephant-like vehicles around us and I realized that I rarely have concerns about colliding with them, even though we often were separated by only several feet.  That's because all of us have accepted the discipline of the lanes.  (Of course some drivers abuse their positions and either drive too fast or slow and can cause major congestion problems or trigger high accident risk).  Imagine if there were no lanes at all!  (Or take a taxi ride in Naples Italy for a real-life taste).  The discipline of the lanes permits many to travel at high speed in a fairly narrow corridor.  In a spiritual sense, the discipline of yielding our will to the Lord can help us avoid other kinds of "life elephants" and travel with efficiency and effectiveness in the narrow corridor of our days.
1 Samuel 6:12(a) Then the cows headed straight for the road to Beth Shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left.
blessings (you may have to moo--ve over sometimes),
Rob Smith

Monday, December 17, 2007

A fresh chapter each day

I've been reading a fascinating biography of Abraham Lincoln.  It is helping me picture what it was like for him as he struggled through the issues of the Civil War and I enjoy reading before I go to bed.  Lately I have found that my eyes and brain are getting tired before my interest in reading fatigues each night.  Part of me wants to keep reading, but the lights are going out in my mind and I have to mark the page and surrender to sleep.  But it hit me today that it's a good thing to close the book each night and go to sleep and it's a good think to close the book on our day and begin afresh the next day.  I really believe that we are meant to start totally fresh every single day...I don't think life is so much about building a big or lasting monument (though we may build large and wonderful things) and I don't think we are meant to lug the past with us like a fallen tree (though the lessons of the past bring wisdom).  Just as the apparently endless beauty of a waterfall is fashioned by the moment by moment flow of water over the rocks, so the beauty of a life is formed in the daily opportunities we have to experience the Lord.   Each day is a drop of water that will pass, only once, over that gorgeous waterfall.
Psalm 42:7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
         All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
Rob Smith

The Big Picture

We were reminded by Ted Cornell that, as choir members, we can't really appreciate the sound of the choir.  He has the position, as conductor, of hearing all voices (and orchestral accompaniment) from his central location in front.  Of course, the audience also hears the 'total sound' as well.  The ironic thing is that we, as individual choir members, are the ones manufacturing the sound which is blended to form the concert music, yet we can't really hear the complete sound.  We hope to get copies of the recording so we can appreciate the concert, as it was heard.  Life is like that, as well.  As we live out our days before the Great Conductor of life, our Lord, we don't always see how the events and the activities of our individual lives play into the fabric of life...but we can be confident that from the view of the Lord and the Heavenly audience...all things are coming together, just as He has planned to form the eternal symphony.  One day we'll see and hear the great performance from heaven, ourselves.  Now we see it with eyes of faith.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Rob Smith

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lava Love

The islands of Hawaii are really the tops of five volcanoes, two of which are still active.  The island of Hawaii, itself, is actually higher than Mt. Everest if you measure from the ocean floor to the peak.  Enough lava has flowed from the volcano that formed the island of Kilauea to make a road that would encircle the earth three times.  As the lava shoots up out of the volcano its temperature is ten times that of boiling water.  The lava is actually molten rock that has emerged from about 100 miles beneath the earth's surface.  It's all very interesting, but here's the analogy I've been tossing around: The Lord told us that when we love our enemies it's just like heaping hot coals on them.  They just don't know how to handle that kind of reaction, when they expect anger and isolation.  I think we need to practice "lava love" that carries the superheat of Jesus.  As lava love flows up out of the deep places that the Lord has filled in our heart it rolls outward and covers everything in its path.  At first the lava burns and at first unexpected love may seem to burn those who don't care for us, but then the lava cools and builds new land.  That's just how lava love can work.  It may seem to be destructive, but even enemies can't resist it and after it covers the hate it forms new land...a new life and a new relationship.  You just can't resist lava love.
Proverbs 25: 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
      And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
       22 For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
      And the LORD will reward you.
Rob Smith

Friday, December 14, 2007

striking the match of faith

Our natural state is not to know or to follow Jesus.  Our natural state is to follow ourselves and every urge we conjur...most bent on self satisfaction.  When we sing the story of Jesus at Christmas in front of hundreds, we can be relatively certain that a number of listeners have not experienced the birth of faith.  I was reminded that people have a "default" setting, something like the "default" settings in a computer program.  Many computer programs assume the most common answer or choice as the "default" and require you to key in information only when something is different or unique.  Something special...something wonderful...something running against the grain of human nature must occur for one to be born anew.  Faith is like a heavenly match that can lie for years in a matchbox, unused, until one comes along who knows the technique that will strike the match into flame.  The people all around us are like those matches.  They have potential for fire but are found cold and stacked among many other matches until the fire-giver comes along.  Perhaps we can become enthralled with the concept that the potential for eternal life lies within everyone and we can be used to strike the matches into the spark of life.

Exodus 4:31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.


Rob Smith

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The road

The humble many pass over it, taking for granted that it will lead them to their destination.  Oh, they may notice the other flashy cars around, and they may spot the impressive homes and yards along the way, but they won't think much about the road...that is, unless age and weather have caused cracks and potholes and the resulting bumps in the ride.  But the reality is that when we follow the familiar road and the road of the map, we can generally depend on it to get us where we have to go.  One road can handle many vehicles and can serve for many years.  At any point in time, only one vehicle can occupy a particular place on the road.  In a similar way Jesus is the dependable road to carry us to the heavenly destination.  I think we forget sometimes, as we travel on Christ's road, that He never leaves us and has committed to seeing us safely home.  He is an amazing road, with the capacity to carry many travelers over many years, but at any point in time everyone of us occupies a unique place on the road...and the road will take us home.
Deuteronomy 2:27 ‘Let me pass through your land; I will keep strictly to the road, and I will turn neither to the right nor to the left."
Rob Smith

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Light makes the difference

Tonight, as we started into our dress rehearsal Christmas concert music, the fellows controlling the lights were still finding their way and we in the choir were partially in the dark.  We couldn't read the music or see our conductor (Ted Cornell) and, consequently, we got off to a staggered start...almost like a track race with a false start with some singing and others waiting.  Appropriately enough the theme for this year's program is: "Your Light Has Come".  Within a few songs the lighting was in synch with singers and orchestra.  Once we could see, we could relax and perform as we'd practiced.   Light made all the difference.  The world is in darkness and because many have never experienced the full light of the Lord they don't realize the difference light can make.  The light of Jesus' presence shows us the dark areas of our hearts.  It also reveals truth from God's word.  The greater the light, the greater the contrast and the more apparent good and evil become.  Light is attractive.  It chases shadows, causes the brilliance of color to emerge and lifts our spirits.  Jesus is the light of the world and He is your light and mine.
Matthew 4:16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
      And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
      Light has dawned.
Rob Smith

Monday, December 10, 2007

Peace on earth

Luke 2:14 “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

At Christmas we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace.  Yet we seem to get mixed signals from scripture.  Did Jesus come to bring peace on earth or a sword?  I suppose you could say "Yes" to both.  It turns out that, like so many things, we tend to define peace differently than the Lord.  Apparently before we can enjoy the peace we need the work of the "sword" referred to in Matthew 10:34.  Perhaps we could view the sword as a divine scalpal that does spiritual surgery.  Certainly we know that we must do war with sin and coming to faith sometimes creates conflict with loved ones while providing holy peace to the one who has trusted in the Savior  We often hear these days how "freedom isn't free" and "peace comes at a price".  Certainly that is true regarding the peace given by our Lord.  We are aware of the great price paid on the Cross.  Often believers also pay a price in human relationships and social acceptance for the greater benefit of the peace of our Lord.  It turns out that peace is experienced within individual human hearts even when surrounded by the storms of life.  Truly we find great encouragement from those last words of John 14:27, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Blessings and peace (heart peace from the Lord, Himself),

Rob Smith

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The role of errors

The Chapel Choir is coming down the home stretch toward the Christmas concerts.  We have one more practice...the dress rehearsal...before the first program this Thursday.  We started the process late this past summer when we heard the music for the first time.  Since then, we've practiced as a choir almost every week to learn the music and we've listened and worked on the music on our own as well.  Today it struck me (during practice) that there are two outcomes every time we attempt to sing a song.  Either we pretty much get it right...or we make some significant mistakes.  It has taken all these hours of practice to sing the songs "pretty much right" most of the time.  It's not that we want to make mistakes, but, sometimes we misread the notes and sometimes we lean on each other when the others are also wrong or sometimes we aren't clear on the pacing or the dynamics or the cut-offs or the entrances.  Sometimes we know exactly how the music should be sung but we still goof.  Our concentration may not be focused enough or we may have temporarily forgotten what to do.  Of course, the biggest factor is the benefit of practicing the music repeatedly to etch proper singing patterns in our minds.  And it truly does help to be surrounded by all the other voices.  I suppose the thought I'm wrestling with has to do with a healthy view of "making mistakes".  We all have made countless mistakes, both individually and as a choir, as we have learned this music...but it's OK  because those mistakes have been a necessary path to a worthy goal.  Each mistake becomes the backdrop for correct performance and each improvement represents one step closer to the Christmas program.  It is the same in life.  Our worthy goal is to attempt to walk closely with Jesus each day.  We want to please Him in all our thoughts and the actions that follow.  Sometimes we fail.  But each failure can become a lesson learned as we strive toward greater intimacy with the Lord.  Sometimes we'll know what to do and still fall...but the worthy goal remains and the Lord awaits us as we rise to stand with Him again.  Just as in the choir, it helps to come after Jesus with others who share the same purpose.  We draw strength, encouragement and we learn many things from those friendships.
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Rob Smith 

Friday, December 7, 2007

Looking for a difference

They're looking for a difference.  All those people out there who are following this crowd or that.  Somewhere within they suspect that there is more to life than their daily routine provides.  Their need is to be reconnected with the one true and living God.  This is the "missing link" and the great unanswered question that lies in their hearts and minds.  Many have their best shot at finding the reality of God in people just like you and me.  Perhaps the greatest miracle the Lord works is the way He reaches through our broken, flawed lives and shines with an attractive light.  It really isn't that hard to spot a Christian.  He or she tends to react differently to almost every crisis and triumph, not to mention every dull day of "nothing special".  Sure God could bowl us all over with a direct appearance...but isn't it all the more amazing that He chooses to show Himself in us.  Do you feel like your life is making a difference?  If you enjoy walking with the Lord, you can help but do so!
Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 
Rob Smith


Wednesday, December 5, 2007


In our office we have a daily routine.  Part of it involves comparing our existing data base of old information with the source of new information.  It is important that our data is up to date and 100% accurate.  The daily check we do is called "Reconciliation".  The word reconcile has a Latin root and comes from the two words "re" (again) and "concilare" (make friendly).  When we have some kind of discrepancy with our data we have to do a little research and find out why our data isn't "friendly" with the data source.  While we only have reconciliation problems occasionally in our database, as human beings we often are out of harmony with our Maker.  Fortunately, He is eager to correct this problem and has provided a means for us to be restored to Him.  Thankfully, we are "friendly again" with our Lord through the effective work of His Son.  Have you sensed the need to be "reconciled".  It starts with a awareness that something is missing and something just isn't right and there just must be a better way.
Romans 5:10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Rob Smith

walls without corners

Last night I was waiting for a meeting to begin.  While I waited, alone in the conference room, I noticed that one side of the room had a rounded surface.  Instead of two walls meeting at a corner, it appeared as one wall that curved 90 degrees.  Earlier that day I had been reading testimonies from Christians, learning their stories of coming to faith and experiencing God entering their lives by faith.  Some of the testimonies could pinpoint specific times and incidents that represented a new spiritual birth.  Others came to faith at such a young age or in such incremental steps that it was hard to identify the specific date or point of salvation.  But, in every case, there was a profound commitment of trust in the Lord Jesus.  Just like the rounded wall that ended at right angles from its origin, so I see that some have come to faith in a similar way.  Whether you have hit a sharp corner in life and turned in sharp contrast, or whether you have turned in a more gradual sense, the wonder of a life transformed can only be ascribed to the One who has made all things new.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Rob Smith

Monday, December 3, 2007

tickets for Jesus

What if they said there were only 1 million spots available in heaven this year and you had to apply at 6 am on Christmas eve to try to get in? 
I was impressed to see how quickly our Chapel Christmas Concert tickets were taken this year.  The allotment of tickets taken on the internet were reserved by eager concert-goers within minutes.  We're excited to share the good news of God coming to Earth in human form with the Williamsburg Community and we are hopeful that hearts will be touched.  But wouldn't it be great if folks had the same kind of "land rush" attitude about coming to the Lord that they do in coming to this concert.  If only we could grasp the benefits that lie for all who open their heart just like opening the Chapel doors on concert night.
Matthew 7:7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
blessings (don't worry, there are tickets still available for eternity)
Rob Smith

the marriage picture

Marriage is the best human picture of our heavenly relationship with the Lord. Just as one spouse is formed differently in body, emotion and mind from the other so are we formed differently from our heavenly Lord.  Just as each spouse helps complete the other to travel through this life, so we are completed in our relationship with the Lord for eternity.  There is no more intimate relationship among human beings than marriage and there is no more intimate relationship spiritually than between the Lord and His people.  Just as marriage is a relationship built on promise and absolute commitment for life, so our relationship with the Lord is founded on a Covenant that the Lord is committed to forever.  Of course the biggest difference is that we are both people in husband wife relationships, equally flawed and with many shortcomings.  We need a marriage that we know will last if it's to be for eternity.  Fortunately, our heavenly marriage partner is our strength and dependable now and forever.
Revelation 19:6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
      For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
 7Let us rejoice and be glad
      and give him glory!
   For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
      and his bride has made herself ready.
 8Fine linen, bright and clean,
      was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Rob Smith

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Luke 22:19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
Mark 14:22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.
Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
We celebrated the Lord's Supper today in church.  There are many beliefs as to the meaning of this wonderful practice.  Lately I've been thinking about turning around some of the controversy.  Instead of whether or not Jesus is living in the bread and wine it has occurred to me that the bread and wine represent Him living in me.  Jesus is the bread of life...our source of energy for living in spiritual health.  Jesus' blood is the dynamic means by which I am made clean and restored to life.  In a way they capture how Jesus has given His all...His body in life and His blood in death...that we might live.  And as we live out our lives, day by day, Jesus continues to be the bread of life that we feed on and His blood effectively covers us from now through eternity, that we might not come to harm.
Rob Smith