Colton Who?

If you are an American Idol fan, you probably didn’t react that way when you heard, if you did on Sunday, about Colton Dixon coming to OGC for a free mini-concert on Friday evening, February 8, at 7 PM (doors open at 6:30 PM). I must admit after all these years I have yet to view a single episode of that enormously popular show. Call me culturally challenged.

Without knowing who the young man was, I actually witnessed him minister a powerful rendition of Jesus Paid It All at Passion 2013 in Atlanta a few weeks ago. Apparently Dixon, a unapologetic Christ-follower, fared quite well in season 11 of Idol finishing 7th. He is only the second artist, other than the winner of that season, to release an album with The Messenger. He appears to be one of those very rare unique individuals able to bridge the gap between pop culture musically and the Christian music scene.

Our friends at Z88.3 have made this possible, for which we are very grateful. For more information on their advertising of the event click here.

I am excited for the unique opportunity that this is, but I confess I am even more excited about the opportunity this will afford to promote our Living in the Grip of the Gospel conference with Greg Gilbert, author of What Is the Gospel, slated for April 19 & 20 at our church. The more people we can expose to the truths of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the better in my book.

Thank you, Lord, for dropping such a sweet opportunity into our laps. God is good. All the time.

The Blessedness of Making Beef Bourguignon with Your Beloved

Beef Borg 001

Sometimes a guy just has to take stock of how good he’s got it. Today is such a day. My 35th anniversary. That’s right. Thirty-five years ago today Nancy and I tied the knot. Don’t know what we were thinking getting married four days before Christmas but somehow we pulled it off. Definitely would have picked a different time of year if I had it to do over again!

I could reflect on a lot of aspects of married life with my bride that I treasure, some more spiritual than the theme of this post, but somehow it just seems fitting to camp out here for some reason.

On Friday, our day off, Nancy asked me what I would like to do with our day. I replied, “I would like to make beef bourguignon!” Not your average day off response from me, so let me explain.

Recently we saw the movie Julie and Julia. Twice. Yes, I admit it. Please, no mail or negative comments. I found the film so redemptive on so many fronts, not that it’s perfect, that I wanted us to see it a second time (at the dollar theater, by the way, on Tuesday for 75 cents). It is filled with substantive themes like living life with passion and purpose, sweet fellowship with friends, feasting with joy, blogging (the main character blogs about her making over the course of one year every one of Julia Child’s recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking), writing (a parallel theme is Child’s writing her cookbook), and, in many ways, marriage. Much of the movie concentrates on the relationships both women had with their husbands throughout the ups and downs of their writing experience. Beef bourguignon is one of the signature recipes in the story. It looked so mouth watering good I was dying to try it.

So sneaky me, I bought Nancy Mastering the Art of French Cooking at Costco for our anniversary (OK, it was really for me) and proposed on Friday that we tackle the recipe together. And we did! We wrote out the menu, shopped together, and spent two hours that afternoon following the recipe (man, am I glad I married a home ec major – talk about complicated) and popped it in the oven for three hours.

That night we sat down to a sumptuous feast of tender beef simmered in red wine with white onions and mushrooms, poured generously over egg noodles with a side dish of peas. And we just lingered at the table. We talked. We laughed. We listened to Christmas carols. We fellowshipped.

Little wonder Jesus describes the intimacy of fellowship with Him like coming for dinner in Rev. 3:20.

My marriage and its intimacy points me to a greater more permanent, more satisfying intimacy I will share with Jesus in the kingdom forever.

Man, am I ever grateful to get that truth and to share thirty-five years and counting with just the sweetest, most faithful woman on the planet. OK, I’m biased, but you have to admit, blessed, indeed, I am.

Nancy, OGC makes me want to be a better pastor. You are the only one who makes me want to be a better man. Thank you. I love you. Always will, by God’s grace. Here’s to our 70th, Lord willing.