Asa and Doris

The weekly work of a pastor keeps him in constant contact with the stark realities of life.  You will rejoice with those who are enjoying the victories that make life worth living, and you will assist in bearing the burdens that come with loss and disappointment (Rom. 12:15).  The holidays brought me face to face with the contrasts of life and death, once again.

We celebrated the birth of a new life at Parkway.  Little Asa Reuel Graham was born into the Graham family on December 28 at 6:33am at 8 lbs. and 4 oz.  He is a lucky (or blessed) little guy, with a wonderful family to care for him and a lifetime of opportunities ahead of him.  It is our desire here at Parkway Baptist Church to do our part in assisting his parents as they strive to bring him up in this world in a productive, happy and well-adjusted way.  We pray for him to know and serve the Lord with joy all of his life.

Just after the new year of 2016 arrived, we buried a dear saint named Doris Compton.  Doris was born on September 6, 1925 and went home to be with the Lord on December 30, 2015.  She was ninety years old!  Doris was a mother to seven, grandmother to eighteen and great-grandmother to a whopping thirty-six!  Mrs. Doris Compton was the mother of the founding pastor of Parkway Baptist Church, Alan Compton.  The joy of Asa’s birth was accented by the contrasting grief from this loss of our beloved Doris.

This picture of life’s extremes reminds us of the dash between the dates of a person’s birth and death.  Doris Compton lived from 1925-2016.  The dash represents the life that she lived.  It represents ninety years of a life lived well.  In those ninety years she experienced the great depression at five, World War II at twenty, Elvis at thirty, Vietnam and the sixties at forty, Watergate at fifty, Reagan and the rise of conservatism at sixty and the rest you know.  Through all those years of delight and desperation, happiness and horror, faith and fear, Doris served the Lord.  As a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a friend, she was faithful.  It is our prayer that Asa will do the same.

A few questions concerning the time between birth and death…

 1. What do you want your life to be about?

You only have one life, what are you going to do with it?  What do you want to have said about you at your memorial service?  Most important, who will have most benefited from your life once it is done?  You? Redbox? Netflix? How about your family … neighbors … friends? 

There is a study that suggests that 85% of all people suffer from low self-esteem.  They do not like the person they see in the mirror.  Consequently, they have no dreams, no goals and no motivation.  They do not expect to achieve anything or be anything.  The solution?  Our motivation should be rooted in the scriptural teaching of the purposes of God (Rom. 8:28, 29), not in the humanistic concept of “self-esteem.”  God loves us (Ep. 3:17-21), has a plan for us (Ep. 2:10), and will continue that plan until it is completed with glorious success (Col. 1:27; Phil. 1:6).  

The greatest day of your life will be when you begin to long for what God has planned for you, instead of striving to get God to endorse what you have planned for yourself.

2.  If we mark our lives in decades, how are you doing so far?

I once heard a preacher say that greatness is not measured in years but in decades.  Our parents play a big role in managing our first two decades of life.  I surrendered to preach at thirteen years of age and my parents did a wonderful job seeing to my spiritual well-being, education and social development.  At that point, it was up to me to begin taking some big-time responsibility for my own future.  My twenties, thirties and now almost all of my forties have been spent preaching.  How well have I done?  Some good I hope, some not so good.  I would change some things, but I cannot go back.  Instead, I want to determine that these last decades be streamlined with godly purpose and infused with an indomitable passion for ministry.

What about you?  Are you satisfied with the decades that lie behind you?  What do you plan for those decades that lie ahead?  Satisfying achievements and wonderful memories will not just happen.  You have to plan for them and work toward them.

3.  Will 2016 mark a new beginning of meaningful living for you?

Great decades of achievement begin a year at a time.  Amazing things can be accomplished in ten years but it will never happen without a stranglehold on the individual years at your disposal.  If you are unhappy with some or all of the outcomes of your life, you must determine whether or not you will continue losing or get serious about change.

I promise, you can have a great life for God and His glory.  If you think that your life is too far gone and you are too far down to recover, go to this link and listen to my brother’s amazing story

4.  What will you do TODAY to move you toward a good year, a great decade and a meaningful life?

Are you dissatisfied with your life? Immediately, write down what you would like your life to look like in one year.  Get on your knees and ask God to help you turn your life into something that will bring Him glory.  Put that note where you will see it tomorrow and begin seeking God and putting together an action plan for success.  Get counsel, read books, talk to experts, but most of all, seek God.

Doris Compton was a rich lady.  She knew the Lord.  She had a wonderful marriage.  She reared seven impressive, successful children.  She had a beautiful home, cooked amazing food, enjoyed travel and good times and trusted God all her life.  We want something like this for Asa.

You could have that as well.
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