Brad Pitt made his debut on HGTV last night.
The Oscar winner joined the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, on their latest show. Each week, a celebrity will give the gift of a home makeover to someone special in their lives. Pitt surprised his longtime friend and makeup artist of thirty years by renovating her detached garage into a guest suite.
According to Jonathan Scott, by the end of the renovation Pitt had made friends with the entire crew: “At the very end he remembered every single person’s name on the production crew and on the construction crew. He remembered everybody and wanted to make sure they knew how grateful he was for what was happening. He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.”
The young woman who married me
I cannot change the world today, but I can change one person’s life in the world today. And I change one person’s life by becoming involved personally with them.
I will never forget the friend who drove across Houston the day after my father’s death to stay with me. He didn’t say anything that I remember. He was just there. That was in 1979, but it feels like yesterday.
I could go on: the Sunday school teacher who led me to Christ; the college professor who became my spiritual father; the seminary president who believed in me; the elderly woman in my first pastorate who became my spiritual mentor; the couple in Dallas who enabled us to launch this ministry.
Of course, at the head of the list is the young woman who agreed to marry me nearly forty years ago. She took a chance on a minister-to-be with limited financial means and an uncertain future. She has been the love of my life and the most significant influence in my life ever since.
Banging pots and pans in New York City
Caring for others always comes at a risk to ourselves.
A third of the National Health Service staff in Great Britain tested for coronavirus have returned positive results. Dentists, paramedics, nurses, nursing assistants, and personal care aides are considered to be most at risk for COVID-19. One out of every five people in Ohio who have tested positive for the virus are healthcare workers.
This is why we should express our intercession, support, and gratitude for healthcare workers in every way we can.
At 7 p.m. every night, people in New York City open their windows or step onto balconies or rooftops. They scream, clap, bang pots and pans, or make music, all as a way of expressing their gratitude to all the frontline workers in their city.
As one reporter notes, “It is an emotional and powerful moment to see and feel New Yorkers come together as one to reassure each other that we will get through this.”
God can “set free those who were doomed to die”
Aaron risked his life when he stood beside Moses as they confronted Pharaoh. Jonathan risked his father’s anger and worse when he refused to betray his friend David. The apostles risked their lives when they refused the Sanhedrin’s demand that they cease preaching the gospel. Barnabas risked the rejection of his faith community when he championed Paul and the rejection of Paul when he championed Mark.
Of all people, God’s people should be most willing to risk ourselves for others. That’s because we know that the worst that can happen to us leads to the best that can happen to us.
The psalmist made this proclamation: “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the LORD” (Psalm 102:18–22).
Easter proves that God can “set free those who were doomed to die.” It proves that the grave is no obstacle to his power. It proves that even if we die from COVID-19 or something else, we are “set free” for eternal life in paradise. This fact gives us the courage to face this disease in faith.
“The moon doesn’t fear falling into darkness”
Scientists are working to discover the degree to which those who have had the disease and recovered are now immune from it. This is vital information, in part because they could then serve on the front lines in healthcare and other essential services without fear of further infection.
Christians know that, because of Easter, we have eternal immunity from death. We know that, just as Jesus rose on the third day, we will rise in the very moment of our physical death. We know that, as Jesus proclaimed, “he who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:26).
We are therefore free to share our faith with others, whether they accept or reject our message. We are free to serve others, whether they serve us or not. We are free to love others, whether they love us in return or not.
As Jesus said, “Freely you received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8 NASB).
Here is how our story ends: “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you” (Psalm 102:25–28).
Nicholas Bartoli of the Society of St. John the Evangelist notes: “The moon doesn’t fear falling into darkness, nor does the caterpillar fear its cocoon. The dew on a blade of grass has no fear as it’s given wings by the warmth of the morning sun.”
Indeed, the new moon will become full again; the caterpillar will become a butterfly. Bartoli is right: “We can be like they are, and have no fear.”
What fear will you trust to your Father today?