Monday, September 2, 2002

Sea of Forgetfulness

by Blake Cromwell

This year I will turn 50 and I am not lamenting the loss of my youthful strength or stamina, but my loss of short-term memory. All my life I have had the ability to remember little details such as numbers and dates. Now I find that not only can I not remember what I did last night, but I keep missing appointments too.

My children tease me that my “senior moments” are really senility setting in. They have encouraged me to sign over my bank accounts before I can’t remember their names. The only good I can see as a result of this problem is that I no longer can fixate on small problems. How can you worry about something when you don’t remember it?

God has a good forgetter too. But His forgetfulness is based upon a decision He makes not a sign of age. The Bible teaches us that, “He remembers no more our sins.”

Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest who lived in the Philippines, a much-beloved man of God who carried a secret burden of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed the sin only once, many years before, during his time in college. No one else knew of this sin. He had repented of it and had suffered years of remorse for it, but he still had no peace, nor inner joy — no sense of God’s forgiveness.

A woman in his parish who had a deep love for God claimed to have spiritual dreams in which she spoke with Christ. The priest, however, was doubtful of her claims, so to test her visions he said asked her, “The next time you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Christ what sin your priest committed while he was in college.”

The woman agreed and went home. When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest said, “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?”
“Yes, He did,” she replied.
“And did you ask Him what sin I committed in college?”
“Yes, I asked Him.”
“Well, what did He say?”
He said, “I don’t remember.”

God wants us to realize that His forgiveness includes His forgetfulness. We all know people who say they have forgiven but their forgiveness is only verbal. They still resent and silently mistrust. They hold on to it, which creates a wall between them and the person who has sought their forgiveness.

But God’s forgiveness is perfect. There are no walls between you and Him because He refuses to remember the sins you confess. You have a clear record, for He has placed your sins in the “Sea of Forgiveness.” One preacher said, “God has thrown your sins in the Sea of Forgetfulness and put a sign there that reads, “No Fishing Allowed.”

I don’t know about you, but I have some history that I want to be thrown in the “Sea of Forgetfulness.” The good news of Jesus Christ is that He can and will place your sins in that sea, all we must do is ask

Sunday, September 1, 2002

A Good Place to Raise Kids

by Blake Cromwell

In the early 60’s my father left the LA basin and moved his family to Hanford. He announced that Hanford would be a good place to raise his boys. Of course, being in the 5th grade, I was fascinated with Hanford — Moe’s Toy Store, Superior Dairy and the vast countryside. That first summer I swam in the canals, shot jack-rabbits and hunted pheasant. My father was right. Hanford was and is a good place to raise a family. The Kings County is a better place for kids than many parts of our nation.

Churches are also great places to raise a family. Over the years as a pastor, I have witnessed a generation of kids grow up in our home church, Koinonia Christian Fellowship. When I first began pastoring in Hanford I was 30 and this December I will turn “The Big Five O” (December 1st if you want to send some reading glasses and Rogaine).

Over the last twenty years, I have seen toddlers grow up, graduate from college, marry and start families of their own. The vast majority of these kids have been blessed and are productive young adults making a positive impact on their communities.

Most churches provide great role models for children. Men and women raising families and living moral lives impart a visible example for kids to follow. The first experiences in drama, singing, musical instruments and the art of public speaking are often in the local church. Church programs help kids develop strong faith, healthy self-esteem, and love for song. Kids clubs, vacation Bible schools, Christmas plays, father and son outings, father and daughter dinners, and many more — all are found within the community of the church.

My own children grew in interest for musical instruments as they weekly watched the worship band in church. Every week they saw and heard piano, drums, guitars, percussions and stringed instruments making joyful music. My son’s interest in philosophy and theology was inspired by the gifted speakers he was exposed to through the church. He also was awakened to how beautiful girls are because everyone knows the best looking girls are in churches.

I think of Sean who at age 7 was involved in a our kid’s choir and drama team. They sang in churches in Hanford and traveled to many places including Jamaica to minister in churches and public schools. Sean today is in the film business in Hollywood. He attributes his love for the Fine Arts and his calling to Hollywood because of his experiences in church.

On a short mission trip to Mexicali, Rhonda at age 11 witnessed medical care being given to children in the city dump. She now attributes her profession as a nurse to her experience in that Mexicali dump.

My own personal experience of finding positive role models occurred at a local church here in Hanford, the Glad Tidings church. There at age 16, I was impacted by a man named Vernon Rogers. He was affectionate, friendly and enthusiastic about his faith in Christ. I watched how he treated his wife and said deep within myself, “I want that kind of relationship with my future wife.” There is a memory embedded in my mind of Vernon praying in church with tears upon his face as he thanked God for His goodness. I found good role models in many of the men of that church. I believe it is the same today.

In our churches in the Kings County you will find a healthy place to raise your family. The Bible promises parents, “raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” If you chose Hanford to raise a family please remember there are some great churches here waiting to help you.