it is hard to believe that my eldest son is "halfway to 16," as my Mom so bluntly put it. today is a day to celebrate his birth, and for me to try and get my breath back, having had it stolen away by that sober realization. if time is a stream, then this portion has turned into a bit of a raging rapids, flowing at breakneck speeds. still, its not so fast that i can't enjoy it, and i certainly am. of course, having a son like Jackson makes it easy to enjoy, as he is a delight (most of the time). we are blessed with every moment of knowing and loving him, and can't wait to see what lies in each new blessed moment. happy birthday, bud. we love you.
in our church, we are continuing with a series called "letters from Jesus," in which we are looking at the seven letters in the beginning of revelation addressed to seven churches in asia. we are imagining what it would be like if we were to receive a hand-written letter from Jesus to our church. what would it say? how would we be encouraged? how would we be challenged? we've looked at three of the letters now. this week we looked at the letter to the church in pergamum. the letter to them includes some harsh criticism of some of their behavior, but it also says that Christ understands how difficult their situation is. and in case they feel like they are stuck in their sinfulness, Jesus says something amazing to them: i will give you a new name. the world gives us so many names, doesn't it? our parents, of course, give us our birth names. but the naming doesn't stop there. it continues right on through elementary school, high school, and into t