Chris' Blog

10.28.09

Chris Philbeck

Next Steps

This past week Sandy and I traveled to Savannah, Georgia, to visit my brother and his family. My brother moved to Savannah about six months ago to serve in their global and local outreach ministry. But after being there for just a brief time, they gave him a new position, and he is now the pastor of what they call their east campus (Savannah Christian Church is one of the largest Christian Churches in the country with a main campus and three different satellite campuses). He’s very excited about this new opportunity. Not only am I excited for him, but I’m very proud of him.

Normally everything at the satellite campus is “live” except for the message which is a video from the main campus. But this last weekend my brother brought the message.He preached from Psalm 51 and talked about how important it is, if we’re ever going to changed into the person God wants us to be, to be honest about our sin.

I’m eight years older than my brother. He and my younger sister were still at home when my parents divorced, and life for them got pretty difficult. Everyone deals with difficulty in different ways, and, for a time, my brother made some really bad choices.But one day when he realized things needed to change, he called me. We talked for a little while, and then I said, “I want you to come and go with me to church camp.” I was scheduled to be the dean of a senior high week at Tanglewood Christian Camp in Lexington, TX. So he went. While he was there, God dealt with his heart, and he made a commitment to turn away from his sin (the Bible calls that repentance). He also made a commitment to enroll at Dallas Christian College (he had already been to two different colleges where he spent most of his time…well he doesn’t really remember much about that time). So my brother enrolled in and graduated from Dallas Christian College. While he was there he met his wife Jolene, and they have been serving the local church together now for almost twenty years. And it all started with a moment of recognition followed by a phone call.

I imagine there are many moments of recognition in all of our lives. The problem is we don’t always take that next step. For my brother Kenneth, it was a phone call to someone he could trust…someone he knew loved him. What would it be for you? One of the great examples of that next step is found in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. After this son had demanded an early inheritance from his father and wasted it all on wine, women, and song (loose translation), he found himself with nothing but a job feeding pigs. Luke 15:17 says, When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ (NIV) You know how the story ends. The father was actually waiting for him to come home. And when he did, the celebration was incredible.

Is there some next step you need to take? Is there something you need to do? Don’t let anything stand in your way. Somewhere there’s a celebration waiting to happen.

Jesus cares,

Pastor Chris

P.S. The weather in Savannah and Hilton Head was perfect every single day. I ate a lot of Blue Bell ice cream and played a lot of golf. How cool is that!