Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Love One Another

There are a lot of "one anothers" commanded in the New Testament. Jesus both initiated & summarized those commands as quoted in John 13:34-35.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Christ-followers should love one another. Sounds easy enough, right? But what does a loving relationship look like?

Don’t imagine amorous or romantic “love” when answering these questions. Don’t think of how you “love” grandma’s pie or when your favorite team wins. We are talking about biblical agape love—the otherish love—the type of love that elevates the needs of another person above our own. It is the opposite of self-ish. Many times it is self-less.

When is the last time you felt loved in an agape, otherish way? When someone served you—your family had a sickness or tragedy & others brought you meals, sent you notes, prayed with you, & even cleaned your house. When someone gave you their time—you needed help watching the kids or another set of hands to finish a project. When someone gave & would take nothing in return—you wanted to pay them because you were overwhelmed by their generosity of time or service. When someone sacrificed joyfully for you—you smiled or maybe even cried because you saw the joy in their eyes at being able to love you in an agape, otherish way.

As Christ-followers we can not make one another love in this agape, otherish way. We can’t force it. We can’t program it. We can’t require it.

Yet as Christ-followers we can expect it. We can pray for it. We can look for ways to employ ourselves for others. We can live it.

Do not withhold. Love. Do not complain. Love. Do not give up. Love. Do not judge. Love. Do not walk away. Love.

Love one another, Jesus said. Agape one another. Otherish one another. Put one another first. Humble ourselves. Elevate others. Sacrifice ourselves. Serve others.

By this agape, otherish love may we be known & make Christ known to the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dr. J.

Kenneth R. Jacobs, 75, died Wednesday February 11, 2009 at an Abilene, Texas medical facility. He was born July 9, 1933 in Franklin, North Carolina. His parents were Floyd S. Jacobs and Wilmer M. (Angel) Jacobs.
Kenneth entered the army on June 20, 1950 and served for four years and one day. This was during the Korean Conflict. After he was honorably discharged, he apprenticed to become a journeyman carpenter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He worked in several cabinet shops in Iowa and Illinois.
In 1962 he married Marilyn J. Jacobs on April 28th. They were married for almost 47 years. They lived in Quincy, Illinois, Sweetwater, Texas, Lubbock, Texas and Abilene, Texas.
In 1963 he enrolled in Quincy (College) University in Quincy, Illinois. He graduated with a B.A. degree in history in 1967. In 1968, he took a job teaching history in the public schools in Sweetwater, Texas, and enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University in the master’s degree program where he studied under the legendary Dr. Rupert N. Richardson, dean of Texas Historians.
Dr. Jacobs completed his master’s at Hardin-Simmons University in 1971 and received a graduate teaching assistantship at Texas Tech University. He taught survey history classes and studied for his doctorate at Texas Tech University. In 1977 he received his doctorate in history and political science after studying under the eminent historian Dr. Earnest Wallace. In September of that year he accepted a position as assistant professor of History at Hardin-Simmons University. He was an immediate success in the classroom. The students loved his relaxed manner and the humor in his lectures. Attila, a massive tomcat, and “the Big O,” who could be approached about poor grades, are two characters that will live on in the memories of his students.
Dr. Jacobs was professionally active at Hardin-Simmons. He became associate editor of the West Texas Historical Yearbook in 1978. He became an editor of this journal in 1985. He held this position until his retirement at the end of the 1997-1998 school year. He was named Rupert N. Richardson professor emeritus after his retirement.
He published several articles in Texas history in professional journals, and in 1984 co-authored a book with Dr. B. W. Aston and Dr. Fain Downs, The Future Great, concerning Abilene, Texas. In 1990 Dr. Jacobs edited a new edition of a famous book by his mentor Dr. Richardson The Comanche Barrier. He held memberships in the American Historical Association, Phi Alpha Theta, The Southern Historical Association, The West Texas Historical Association and the Texas Historical Association.
During his career at Hardin-Simmons University, Dr. Jacobs received several honors. In 1986 he was named Reata man of the year. The next year the faculty voted him the Cullen Teaching Award. In 1989 the students at Hardin-Simmons named Dr. Jacobs the teacher of the year, an honor that he treasured above all others. In 1997 the All School Sing was dedicated to Dr, Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs was the original faculty sponsor the Theta Alpha Zeta fraternity.
Dr. Jacobs was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother Floyd S. Jacobs, Jr.
He is survived by his wife Marilyn and several cousins. He is also survived by his special adopted family Bryan, Elizabeth, and Luke Adams and many friends and former students.--Abilene Reporter News.

Dr. Jacobs was my favorite history professor, my fraternity sponsor, & a dear friend.

I love Dr. J.

He was easy to love. All at once larger than life, yet accessible. A history professor & a dedicated husband. A mentor & a friend. You could count on him. You could count on comments, witticisms, criticisms, Attila, the Big O, Miss Marilyn, Miss fill-in-the-name of his grader at the time, and many, many more. Keen mind, quick wit, twinkling eye, & sonorous voice.

"Mr. Householder, can you tell me the year that all good things began?" Of course we all knew the answer that we would pronounce in our most dignified voice, "1901, Sir, the year Theodore Roosevelt became president." That oft repeated question spurred me in later years to read presidential biographies. I started with none other than TR. Many times as I read I would wonder if this story or that character trait of TR may have been attractive to Dr. J. The appeal of TR to man of history like Dr. J was obvious.

Such was the appeal of Dr. Jacobs to a young man like me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Unpopular Word

The heart of worship is surrender.

Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission.

It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser.
Surrender evokes the unpleasant images of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context. Captured criminals surrender to the authorities.

In our competitive world we’re taught to never quit trying, never give up, and never give in – so we don’t hear much about surrendering. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable.
Yet, the Bible teaches us that rather than trying to win, succeed, overcome, and conquer, we should instead yield, submit, obey, and surrender.

And by surrendering to God, we enter into the heart of worship. This is true worship: bringing pleasure to God as we give ourselves completely to him.

Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience, cooperating with your Creator. You say “Yes, Lord” to whatever he asks of you.

In fact, “No, Lord” is a contradiction. You can’t claim Jesus as your Lord when you refuse to obey him. Peter modeled surrender when, after a night of failed fishing, Jesus told him to try again: “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”Surrendered people obey God’s word, even when it doesn’t make sense.

God is not a cruel slave driver or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us into submission. He doesn’t try to break our will, but woos us to himself, so that we might offer it freely to him. God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering brings freedom, not bondage.

When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend.

Give yourselves to God ... surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes. Romans 6:13 (TEV)

(Note: This entry, written by Rick Warren, is from his Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals.)