Authentic – Excuses vs. Explanation

In my house we’re pretty free. We’re modest, but it’s not uncommon to find children running around the house in their skivvies’! We want our children to be polite and well mannered but when we’re home and one lets the occasional bodily function fly we’re likely to giggle together before the polite ‘excuse me’ is offered.

The other day at the dinner table we were eating and having a good time. We let things go a little too far. Jaiden opened her lips and out came a burp to make her daddy proud. If it had been Caedmon or Ethan I would have said, ‘That’s my boy!’ but this was my little girl. With depth and consistency the sound rumbled forth and reverberated throughout the dinning room. In true Balthrop fashion she grinned from ear to ear and feigning a little bow said, ‘Thank you’.

Mom, being the refined one of the family and the only one with any couth or dignity at all, was quick to correct our giggles and our daughter. ‘Excuse me,’ Jaiden said with a mischievous grin. And we did.

I have a friend whose ex-wife has been charged with multiple crimes against their daughter. This woman suffers from Munchausen by Proxy. It’s a mental illness that drives a person to hurt their own child for the attention it brings the parent. She was caught by doctors slowly poisoning her own daughter. Her crime was actually more egregious than that. While she administered the poison that would one day kill her daughter she simultaneously injected her with medicine to counteract the life giving efforts of the doctors. She took it even further by tricking family members into giving this poison to her daughter. They thought what they gave was doctor prescribed, but it wasn’t. This woman is brilliant. With planning and preparation, with malice aforethought, she plotted the death of her only child.

God has been gracious. The mother was caught, the girl nursed back to health. Now the mom faces jail time. Soon she will stand before a judge and cry, ‘excuse me’. She offers up an explanation. She claims to have been abused as a child, that somehow she was driven to these horrific deeds by this abuse. While I sympathize with her concerning any abuse she may have experienced in her past, her explanation is not adequate to excuse her choices. She seeks not only to avoid jail time, but to get back custody of her daughter. She believes her excuse is good enough to absolve her actions. She’s shown remorse. She’s going through therapy, but is that enough to excuse what she did and entrust her again with the life of her child? There is no excuse for the premeditated abuse of a child. And regardless of explanation there are few circumstances under which someone who has abused a child should be allowed again to have custody of that child.

This is not a question of forgiveness. I have no doubt God will forgive this woman if she seeks it. This is about whether or not having an explanation always warrants an excuse. We’ve gotten these things a bit mixed up.

Too often we believe that because we have an explanation we somehow deserve an excuse. But that’s not how it works. An explanation is why I did something. I offer my explanation to the one who will pass judgment. The one who will judge then determines if my explanation is adequate to excuse my action. Too often we are enamored by the confession, sympathetic with the story and impressed by the remorse, but these demonstrations of penance are only part of a larger equation that determines whether or not I should be excused.

The Bible makes it clear that forgiveness is available. But receiving forgiveness does not remove all the consequences of our sin. For example, in high school I had a friend who got pregnant when she was 15. She wasn’t married. Obviously being pregnant was not her intention. She sought God’s forgiveness for the act that gave her the child and I’m certain God restored her spiritually to purity – but the consequence of her act, a beautiful baby boy, was still born into this world and her life was changed for ever.

From silly to sinister people today cry ‘excuse me’ for every misguided step they take. I’ve given 3 examples, one light hearted and fun and two quite more serious. All are examples of excuses in action. I wonder what excuses you will make this week – for ignoring God, for dropping the ball, for choosing to hurt your family. You fill in the blank. What of your actions this week will you attempt to justify and explain away? The thing about sin is, we always have an explanation for why we did it. There’s always a story. God will forgive. Men will excuse. But you and those you love will be left to suffer the consequences. This week rather than make excuses, choose right. No explanation required.

Love y’all, God Bless,

Chad

Notes to Notice

TONIGHT’S REHEARSAL

WE’RE BACK!!! – The Ice Age is over and we need everyone back! February, March & April are going to be defining months for our church and we need you to be involved!

STING & PIZZA

For the AM & PM Praise Bands – Sunday Night, February 11, 7:30 – 9:30 in the Terminal – You and your families are invited to a great night of music and mayhem as we hear from none other than, ‘Sting’. Please RSVP Brenda Henderson, brenda@fbcowasso.org or 918.516.6640 by February 8th.

MARCH 9, 2007 – CLOSE CONCERT ROAD TRIP!

Hosted by NewSong, featuring Steven Curtis Chapman, Jeremy Camp, Hawk Nelson, Sanctus Real, Britt Nicole, Tony Nolan, and John Morgan; meet at the church at 5:00pm, we’ll go together. Tickets are $10, that night at the door. Bring a little extra $$$ we’ll get a bite to eat after the concert Sign up with Brenda. For information on the concert visit http://jamtour.com

CAMCAST

Don’t miss the latest music downloads and CAM information. Subscribe now the CAMCAST – the first ever CAM Podcast. Available now at http://feeds.feedburner.com/camcast1!

EASTER

Sunday, April 8th – Our Services Caffeinated! Every Easter more people come visit us than any other Sunday of the year. So let’s make the most of this opportunity. We’ll do three services with an overflow venue in the Education Center led by a Praise Team. Jennifer Berry, 2006 Miss America will be here to share how God has made a difference in her life. And the Celebration Choir, Praise Band, Praise Teams and Instrumental Ensemble will all lead out in an incredible time of praise. We’ll be preparing for this Easter every Wednesday night this semester. Make plans now to be here and to lead well!

THE GOAL OF CAM

The goal of the Christians Arts Ministry is worship. Our desire is to teach Believers to delight the heart of the Father with every area of our lives, passionately expressing our love for God through the use of every talent and resource He’s given us for His glory and His pleasure.

THE CAM STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE

“Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” I Corinthians 11:1 – It’s probably the most in your face, challenging Scriptures in all the Bible – to be able to, with honesty and integrity, look at someone else and say, “If you do what I’m doing you’ll be doing what Jesus did.” It’s a big goal, but it’s a goal worth striving for. Let 2007 be the year you press closer toward this goal than you ever before. What are your struggles? Where are your troubles? Be patient and wait on the Lord. He’s not finished with you yet.

RESCUE – the Prayers We Pray

Bonnie Walter’s brother, Brian, is headed to Kuwait – He’s a customs inspector.

Pray like this: “Heavenly Father, protect Brian while he is in Kuwait. Let him know the peace of Your presence.

Casey & Desha Clawson’s son, Trey – has been deployed as a medic in Baghdad.

Pray like this: “Father, protect Trey while he is in Baghdad. Bring him home safe. While he is there let the medical skills You have given him save the lives of many. Let him know the peace of Your presence.”

Wally & Lori Thrun’s daughter, Becky – does not have saving knowledge of Jesus.

Pray like this: “Dear Lord Jesus, open the eyes of Becky’s heart. Help her to hear, see, know and understand the gospel and why it’s important. Bring people into her life to continually plant, water and care for the seeds of faith in her life. Grow faith in her. Let her mom and dad know the right things to say and do to demonstrate your loving kindness and salvation.”

Darin Harrison – He needs a new job.

Pray like this: “Father, thank you for providing for us. Thanks for providing for Darin and his family. We trust in You alone to provide for our needs and know you will do it. Allow Darin to know success and satisfaction in his work. Change his job (meaning change his working conditions)…or change his job. Do for him what’s best for him and his family and fulfill the potential you’ve placed in him.”

Father, we ask all these things in the name of Jesus, trusting You will answer according to Your will – AMEN!

Order of Service

Sunday AM – 01-28-07

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Pre-service – COUNTDOWN | CD

PRE-SERVICE

CD

SERVICE START | Chad Balthrop

CONGREGATIONAL MUSIC

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms – Ab, BH – 333

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus – Ab, BH – 485

WELCOME | Dr. Roger Ferguson

WELCOME SONG

My Redeemer Lives – E, CHART

CHOIR SPECIAL

Here With Us – Brenda Henderson

CONGREGATIONAL MUSIC

The Lord is My Strength – WWW

Give Us Clean Hands – G, CHART

Breathe – A, CHART

SPECIAL MUSIC

Yet I Will Praise You – Db, Melissa Tyndall

MESSAGE

Dr. Roger Ferguson

OFFERING | ANNOUNCEMENTS

INVITATION

Give Us Clean Hands – G, CHART

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Presentation of New Members

Close

My Redeemer Lives – E, CHART

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