Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting back to blogging

I am at Exposure Youth Camp this week and will not take take to blog.  I will try to wrap up the whole Exposure Experience on Thursday when I get back to a somewhat regular routine.  For now here is a promo video for EYC:


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Rudy was well known and respected in his small town.  Even those that had not met him, knew him on sight because of his flaming red hair (everyone in town called him "The Red").  One morning in late December, Rudy and his wife discussed the weather over breakfast.  "The forecast is for snow this Christmas," she said.
"Nope," replied Rudy, "the air is too warm."
The banter continued until a clap of thunder made them both look outside.  "You were right," Rudy's wife proclaimed.
His only comment was "Rudolph the Red, knows rain, dear."

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jesus' First Coming

Here is a slide show from of the lesson we studied at Parrish this past Sunday morning.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Ten Passages on God's Grace

Here is a list of ten of my favorite passages about grace.  Feel free to add your own passages.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:14-17)

But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Act 15:11)

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Act 20:24)

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Rom 3:21-25)

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:15-21)

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Rom 6:14-15)

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2Co 4:15)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2Co 8:9)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:4-10)

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2Ti 2:1-2)

Dear Father, Thank you for the undeserved favor that you offer each of us through the gift of Your Son our Savior, Jesus the Christ. - Amen


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fortune Cookies and Friendship

One on my favorite places to eat are good Chinese restaurants.  The American tradition of Fortune Cookies is fun for our family.  We try to make something out of them and see what laughs these "fortunes" generate.  One visit produced "fortunes" that seemed connected and lead to the following "Sermon from Fortune Cookies."  Each cookie seemed to focus on friendship.  The wise man reveals; Prov 27:17 “Where would we be without the friends who shaped us?”

Fortune Cookie #1: The Only Rose without a Thorn is Friendship
Prov 17:17, “A friend loves at all times,”
Prov 18:24, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly,”
I went out to find a friend,
But could not find one there,
I went out to be a friend,
And friends were everywhere.

Fortune Cookie # 2: Share Your Joys and Sorrows
Rom 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep”
Jas 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another,”

Fortune Cookie # 3: You Will Be Called Upon to Help a Friend in Trouble
Prov 27:10, “Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend,  Nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity;  Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.”
Gal 6:1-2, "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

The following quotes demonstrate the universal need for friends.
  • “Some make enemies instead of friends because it is easier.” – E.C. Mckenzie
  • “Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “If you really want to know who your friends are: make a mistake.”  – The Bible Companion
  • “So long as we love we serve. No man is useless while he is a friend.” – R. L. Stevenson
  • "We are mistaken if we think that people are simply looking for friendly churches; they are looking for friends." - David E. Garland.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday's Comin'

A great sermon starter.

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Religion of the SEC

In my part of the world - about 45 miles north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama  (For the uninformed and those outside of the US, that is the home of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide) there is a good bit of excitement concerning the Tide's number 1 ranking and defeat of the Florida Gators.  In the past few days numerous people, both friends and strangers, will stop others who are decked out in Crimson and White or Houndstooth to talk about NCAA Football and specifically Bama's rise to title-hood and their hopes for a 13th National Championship.  In the SEC Football is almost if not already on par with religion.  Most will change churches before they change which team they follow. With all this in mind I made the following observations.

1. We make time for football.  We will set aside time weekly if not daily to watch or read about our favorite teams and players.
2. We support football financially.  We buy tickets to games, travel great distances to attend those games.  We buy clothing and other paraphernalia in support of our team.
3. We raise our children to love football.  I have friends who refuse to let the colors of their rivals to enter their house.
4. We get excited about football. We love for our team to win.  We can't wait to go to a game or watch them on TV.

Now consider the following passages:
"I was glad when then said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'" Psalm 122:1
"Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!" Phil 4:4

Can I and do I get enthusiastically excited about the things of God?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guess Post - To Judge or Not To Judge

This comes from my older brother, Doug who posted this on Facebook.  Add your comments here!

I'm coming across something that I think is generational. When I look at Matthew 7:1-6 that says,

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. "

I think that I shouldn't judge people's motivations. I think that when I judge whether someone else's choices are right or wrong that I should be sure that I apply the same measuring stick to my own life.

However, I have come to realize that there are many people who believe they have a right to live a totally "un-judged life." I do not understand how you can care for someone without judging whether they are making good choices or bad choices.

I'd like your opinions. I kind of want to see if it has a generational bias. Did we, by changing the way we (as a whole) discipline children teach them that all points of view are right and therefore not subject to the judgment of others.

Is judging always wrong? How old are you?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What are You Waiting For?

Above: Andrew waits for someone to distribute
presents at our Family "Thanksgivemas" last week.

Adam had to wait for God to create a companion for him.
Noah had to wait over a century while he built the ark for the rains to come.
He had to wait for the water to recede once the rain stopped.
After not waiting for God, Abraham finally waited for God to provide and heir.
Jacob waited to see if Esau was still angry.
David waited for Saul's reign to end before taking power.
Elijah waited in caves for the Lord to speak.
Israel and Judah waited for the Messiah to come.

What are you and I waiting for? Spiritually we are waiting for Christ to return so that we can be with Him eternally (1 Thess 4:13ff; 2 Pet 3:10-15).

BTW:  We need to learn this concept of waiting and apply it to our temporal life.  I can wait to make that purchase until I can afford it.  You can wait for sexual intimacy as a part of marriage.  I can have patience with you and with myself as we individually and collectively mature in Christ (1 Thess 5:14).


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top Ten Ways to Show Love

(image courtesy of Daniel Howell Photography)

From the home office just off of AL Hwy 269 in Parrish, Alabama is today's Top Ten Ways to Show Love to your husband or wife . . .

10. Speak Kindly to your love, even when you disagree. - Eph 4:29.
9. Put the one you love first, before yourself - Phil 2:3-4.
8. Write notes to them telling of the love you have for them - Phil 1:3-7.
7. Spend time with them, getting to know them even better, and enjoying their company - Song of Solomon (Songs) 8:6.
6. Build them up in public. I cringe when I hear other men putting down their wives and criticizing them in front of others. (I feel the same when women are men-bashing) - Matt 7:12.
5. Chase your spouse. You had to chase them to catch them, keep pursuing - Songs 3:1-4.
4. Give them and show them R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Eph 5:33.
3. Be affectionate with them - Songs 1:2.
2. Be faithful to them for life - 1 Tim 3:2, 12.
And most importantly, share a common faith in God and
1. Pray together - 1 Pet 3:7.


Monday, November 30, 2009

What I Like About the Holidays

In this picture - Sister-in-Law (Tammy), Mom (Anna), and my lovely wife (Amy) model their "Santa" aprons while making deviled eggs.

While there are many more reasons to like the holidays than I have room to list, here are a few of my favorite reasons.

1. FAMILY. During the holiday season, both of my brothers, our wives, and children gather at our parents house. Although my one brother lives 10 minutes away, we all spend few nights at Mom and Dad's.

2. FAITH. All of my family are active in their faith, we pray together, and we are usually there at least one Wednesday and get to go back to the congregation where we grew up as children. We always enjoy catching up with old friends there and joining them in praise to God.

3. CHILDREN. Doug (my older brother) has two daughters the oldest is almost 20 and is engaged to be married this summer. His youngest is 16 and full of life. Charles (my younger brother) has two preschool girls. The oldest will be in Kindergarten next year. The youngest is 2 years old. They are a lot of fun. I have one son (Andrew) who is 12. He and his cousins have a lot of fun.

4. GAMES. Usually we play Mexican Train or some other table game, but this year we had Wii Bowling, Wii Golf, and Wii Tennis Tournaments. Mom pushed us to our limits in Bowling!

5. FOOD. We have the usual turkey (Cajun fried), ham, dressing, deviled eggs, and various deserts. Then we have a traditional dish for my families Christmas; my great-grandmother's (and possibly her mother's) seafood gumbo.

And that is just my side of the family. I get to Amy's side later . . .


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Simple Prayer

Sticking with Monday's theme of prayer, I pray with each of you the following simple prayer to God.

Dear God,

In Jesus Name, AMEN!


Monday, November 23, 2009

A Monday Morning Prayer

God our Father,

In our world wars begin and wars end.
In our world economies strengthen and economies weaken.
But You, O Lord are steadfast; unchanging.
Help us to depend on You.

In Jesus' name, Amen!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Does it Cost?

Ted, one of the members the Parrish Church of Christ, works and live in Birmingham during the week and worships with a congregation there. One fellow employee at his company was curious about Ted's faith and commitment. This co-worker is new to the United States coming from an Asian country. When he and Ted talked about church, Ted's friend asked, "How much does it cost to go to church?"

When Ted first shared that story with me, I chuckled, then I felt sad for his acquaintance. Sad that somewhere he understood that churches "charged" admission, or at least considered tithes as a "church tax."

However, I began to wonder what does it cost to go to church? My thoughts are below. After reading my answers, give the readers what you think.

1. Time. Just a few hours a week.
2. Fuel or transportation costs. Depending on how far you live from the building and how you get there this will vary slightly.
3. Energy. You have to get up and get moving.
4. Emotion. When you pour your heart into worship and fellowship, you invest your emotions. Specifically, the emotions of love, sorrow, and joy.
5. Your All. To be a part of the Church cost everything you are and will be: Luke 14:26ff (BTW you get this back 100 times over - Matt 19:29).

These costs are well worth being a part of the Lord's Church. What do you think?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Double Overtime

Last night the Oakman 8th grade boys won 47 to 44 at Curry. Oakman lead at halftime by 11 points. Curry came within three with less than 10 seconds on the clock. Then buzzer beater three pointer to end regulation and send the game into overtime. Their fans went wild. Three minutes later Oakman scores at the buzzer to send the game into a second overtime; Oakman's fans go wild! With one second on the clock Oakman rebounds a missed shot by Curry to hold on for a three point win! Wow! What a game. No one expected a such thriller! No one left because the game went into overtime twice. Almost every fan stood throughout both overtimes cheering on their team!

I wonder. I wonder what would happen if worship went into double overtime this Sunday . . .


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tempering My Anger

Hello, my name is Scott and I have an anger problem. Those that know me from my teenage and twenty-something years do not find that very revealing. Hopefully, prayerfully those who know me now may be at least a little surprised. Like alcoholics and drug addicts, I consider myself to be RECOVERING from anger.

I am still the same person I was 20 plus years ago. I still have the same passions. I thought I had grown enough that those feelings would not pressure me. I was wrong.

This October, I began volunteering as an assistant basketball coach. Basketball is by far my favorite sport to participate in, so I thought, why not coach. While I have not lost my cool and become a Bobby Knight or Wimp Sanderson on the sidelines, I can feel the frustration building up inside of me. When the calls do not go the way I think they should, when the players are not paying attention to the coaches, much more when they are clueless that they are in the game, I feel that old familiar rise.

But, I must keep control. The head coach is a young man from our congregation. Other parents in the stands know I am a Christian (a preacher as well). I rotate as a speaker on a local TV show, so there could be some from the opposing team that know who I am as well. If I lose my cool court-side, what will other's think about Christ? and Christianity?

What do I do?
1. I look for the positives. Are our boys trying? Are they showing signs of improvement over the last game? Are they playing with passion? If not all of them, are some of them?
2. I pray and thank God I am not a referee. At last night's game, one of the refs is also a leader at an area congregation of God's people. I know he tried to be fair. Referees are human, they make mistakes, and they make good calls.
3. I sit on the bench to coach. I talk with the players about to go in the game and remind them of their responsibilities. I talk with the players who come out of the game and try to encourage their strengths and kindly point out where they need to improve.
4. I make notes for the head coach. Where each player (the team) can make changes.

As I think about it more, there are some ways I can apply similar principles to the rest of life's frustrating situations. 1. Look for positives, 2. Pray, 3. Take a seat, and 4. Write things down.

"Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent." Ps 4:4 (esv)


Monday, November 16, 2009

Jesus Wants to Change . . .

Every morning, I look in the mirror. What I see needs some attention. Hair is out of place, stubble grows on my chin, and so on. I make the needed changes before I walk out the door. I wish I could make a few more changes as easily as I comb my hair.

There are also things Jesus wants to change. Not about Himself, but about me and you.
  1. Jesus wants to change my VOCATION: "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." Lk 5:10. My job may be a teacher, coach, bank teller, lawyer, or doctor, but my vocation in Christ is to reach others for Him.
  2. Jesus wants to change my DIRECTION: "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." Lk 19:5. Like Zacchaeus many of us focus on our own goals and directions. We are looking out for self. Jesus wants us to follow Him toward perfection.
  3. Jesus wants to change my PRIORITIES: "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." Lk 9:62. Living in the world, we find the things of the world easily distract us. Jesus wants us to be focused on what is spiritual over what is worldly.
  4. Jesus wants to change my LIFE: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Mt 19:21. Are we willing to trade our physical possessions for eternal treasure in heaven? True happiness is not found in our belongings, but where we belong.
  5. Jesus wants to change my RELIGION: "For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering." Lk 11:52. Jesus is talking to the religious leaders of His day. We need to be certain that we as leaders and as individual Christians are walking daily with God.
  6. Jesus wants to change my SITUATION: "But he who is forgiven little, loves little." Lk 7:47. When I understand how much God has forgiven me, I cannot help but love Him and turn my daily focus to Him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Top Ten Gifts for Men

After reading Trey Morgans list of Bad Christmas gifts for Men, I felt inspired to write a list of good gift ideas for men. Here is my Top Ten Best Gifts for Real Men:

10. Hand Tools: Hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, anything that he can use with his hands. Even if your man is not the handy-man type; simply buying him these gifts will boost his manly ego and may even spark that handy-man gene.

9. A Tool Belt: What good are tools if you do not have a belt to display them in? Make sure it is of high quality material -- preferably leather (brushed or rough). A lightweight canvas apron is NOT a tool belt.

8. A Gift Card to a Hardware / Tool Store: He knows what he needs, let him get some therapy buy walking in a MAN-store make a selection and walk out.

7. Recreational Supplies: These vary from man to man. If he likes to fish, fishing gear is a great gift (a boat is even better). If your man is a hunter, you cannot go wrong with camouflage. If your guy is a spectator, buy clothing for his favorite team (Roll Tide Roll!).

6. A Gift Card to Bass Pro Shop or a similar outlet: This way he can get the gear he really needs that he does not already have.

5. A Year's Supply of Beef Jerky; Nothing says "I'm a Man!" like tearing hard dried beef with your teeth.

4. A Year's Supply of Sunflower Seeds: Manly seeds must be in the shell. Not only are sunflower seeds healthy, they give a man the opportunity to partake in a manly past-time: spitting. There is something reassuring to manhood when we expectorate the shells of sunflower seeds.

3. A Good Bible or Bible Study Guide: Real men need to be like the ultimate real man, Jesus. To be like Him, we must get to know Him through His word.

2. A Loving Home: Show your husband (father, son) that you truly love him. They may not be outwardly affectionate, but men do want to be loved and to show love.

1. Friendship: God looked down on Adam knew that man needed a companion like him. Men are social creatures and need friends. Wive, be your husband's best friend. And Husbands; be your wife's best friend.

My two cents worth,


Veteran's Day


With Appreciation,
Scott, Amy, & Andrew

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"The Spirituality Tree"

Please excuse the quality (or lack thereof) of the included graphic. I lost the original years ago. This is part of a spiritual wellness activity I do with young people from early to late teens. The idea is to get them thinking about where they are spiritually. Take the self-examination for yourself. The process is really simple. All you have to do is to honestly answer the following questions.

As you begin, realize that everyone is somewhere on this "Spiritual Tree." Look at the picture and find yourself. Give a reason for your choice.

1. What number (or person) on the tree best represents where you are spiritually?
2. Why do you identify with that particular person? (Why are you at that place in the tree?)
3. Where do you wish you were on the tree? Why?
4. How can you get to were you want to be?

Now that you know where you are and where you want to be - - get busy for God in your Spiritual life.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Boles on Preachers

This morning, I was scanning through some old books. In a 1949 edition of Boles' Outlines by BC Goodpasture; I ran the following outline, "Responsibilities of Gospel Preachers." An online biography of Brother Boles relates, "H. Leo Boles was preeminently a teacher. In the fall of 1906, he became a member of the faculty of David Lipscomb College (then Nashville Bible School). While doing regular work as teacher, he took lessons daily in the Bible under the lamented David Lipscomb. For seven years he taught philosophy and mathematics but, on becoming president of David Lipscomb College in 1913, he began to give more and more time to teaching the Bible. It was a rare treat to attend his classes in logic, ethics, and evidences of Christianity. He taught his students the Bible-not merely some course related to the book, but the book itself. His students were taught to oppose all modernism, speculation and denominationalism. About 1,500 young preachers received instruction in his classes, besides hundreds of students who never became preachers."

Since many of my readers are preachers, I thought I would share this challenge to each of us.

Introduction: He should know his responsibilities as a gospel preacher and be able to meet them. Being ignorant of them disqualifies him. Willful failure to meet them disqualifies him.

I. Gospel Preacher's Motto: (1 Tim 4:16)
1. Two parts:
a. Take heed to thyself (Mat 5;19; Acts 1:1).
b. Take heed to thy teaching.
2. It reveals the preacher's responsibility.
3. It should be his guide.

II. Responsibilities to God.
1. To know the truth of God.
2. To love the truth of God.
3. To preach only the truth of God.
4. To live the truth of God.
5. People cannot separate a man and his message.

III. Responsibilities to the Church.
1. The Church is the great brotherhood of Christians.
2. It stands for the Bible truth.
3. Gospel preachers represent the brotherhood.
4. Must represent it fairly.
5. Many misrepresent it.
6. Such ought to get out of it.
7. They have no right to enjoy its honors and at the same time misrepresent it.

IV. Responsibilities to Hearers.
1. Must give them the truth.
2. They need the truth of God.
3. Preacher is debtor to hearers (Rom 1:14).
4. All responsibilities of a teacher to a pupil rests upon the gospel preacher.
5. Live as an example (1 Tim 4:12).

There is a lot for those of us who preach to consider.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Little Corner

Today's thoughts come from the activities in my little corner of the world this week:

Sunday: A busy day of worship and fellowship. People responded well to the messages from God's word this Lord's day. Our lessons were on the Body of Christ (Sun AM) and God's Concept of the Church (Sun PM). One sister responded Sunday saying she felt "stuck in the valley" and could not find her way out. She knew she needed the Lord's help and the help of her fellow members of the Body. Please pray for Winonna. Sunday evening culminated with devotionals for our young people as they studied and spent extra time together.

Monday: A good day with a local Jr. High / High School group. Oakman High School, where my son, Andrew, attends is a small school of approximately 450 students in 7th - 12th grade. Since their football season is over the coaches decided to see who wanted to play next year. Those that signed up to play (80 students from grades 7-11) took a field trip to Bryant Denny Stadium, The Bear Bryant Museum, and the Crimson Tide indoor practice facility in Tuscaloosa. They also heard from the Athletic Academic Director, who encouraged them to work hard off the field and in the books!

Tuesday: Back to a regular work day. Spent time preparing early research for two sermons and two Bible classes.

Now on to two special events that both revolve around volunteer work. I am a volunteer Basketball Coach for the Boys 7th Grade and 8th Grade teams at Oakman High. We had games both Monday and Tuesday afternoon.

Event one concerns Monday's game and loss. One of our teams were way behind the opponent when Coach Mullinax sent in "John." That was when something amazing happened. The other team, who easily outmatched us, saw that John was a special needs student. They gave John the opportunity to shoot every time he got the ball. They would back off, just enough to give him the chance. He missed, but one of our other players rebounded and scored every time John shot. Oakman still lost the game, but John won, and so did every player on both teams.

Event two comes after Tuesday's game against Valley. After the coaches and players shook hands, one of the volunteers with Valley's team called all the players and coaches to mid-court. There he mentioned one of their players who was attending his grandfather's funeral a few states away. Then he asked if someone would lead a prayer. One of Valley's players volunteered and lead a prayer not only for his friend but for the great sportsmanship that both teams displayed on the court that night.

No matter what courts may rule, as long as there are Christians and Christian minded people involved in our schools, people will pray and right will prevail. We will look out for the hurting and lift up those who need our special attention.

Have I said before, that I love small towns and small schools.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Mosaic Bible -NLT

Thanks to Tim Archer for hooking me up with the Holy Bible Mosaic from Tyndale House. I picked up my copy last Thursday and immediately began leafing through the pages. Before this particular Bible I had not read much from the New Living Translation (NLT) other than quotes in blogs and bulletins. (More on the NLT later).

There are things I really like about this Bible:
  1. The Advent Mosaic study system will be fun for me. I am looking forward to learning more about the so-called "Christian Calendar." In the Restoration Movement, we do not observe this calendar, so I am mostly unfamiliar with it. My hope in going through this year long study to is gain better insight into the viewpoint of other religious people. I plan to begin with the first week's devotional four weeks before Christmas, as suggested by the guide. I may sneak a few of the more interesting studies into the blog.
  2. Friday evening I read through Timothy and Titus. Saturday, I started reading Hosea. I am going to like the NLT for a "reading Bible." The translation model the translators follow make for easy understanding in modern context.
  3. The artwork throughout the Advent Mosaic is impressive. My 12 year old son enjoyed thumbing through the artwork. His comment was that the older art is better than the contemporary -- I knew he had discerning tastes.
The only issue I have concerns the NLT's translation of some passages. In my selected reading so far, I get the impression that in the attempt to translate "thought for thought" from Hebrew and Greek into contemporary English sometimes leans toward a paraphrase and misses the point the original writers intended. This is why this will become a "reading" Bible and not one I would preach from regularly.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Turning Point Phrase

In the context of Matthew 26, the Chief priests plot against Jesus as to how they might trap and destroy Him. Meanwhile; Jesus is at Simon the former Leper's house where Simon is hosting a feast in honor of Jesus. Not only is Simon there, but also Lazarus who used to be dead. During the meal a woman anoints Jesus' head with expensive oil. Judas offended by the "wastefulness of this act" seeks to betray Him.

The scene changes and Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples. During the meal, Jesus reveals His betrayal. He also establishes the Lord's Supper and tells Peter “you will deny me three times.”

As the narrative moves along, Jesus goes to garden to pray where Judas arrives, with a mob in tow, and he betrays Jesus with a kiss.

Matthew records the events surrounding Jesus' garden prayer in Matt 26:36-46. As you read this passage focus on Matt 26:39:

Jesus' soul is “VERY sorrowful." As a man He needed His friends near Him and praying for Him and with Him, yet they repeatedly fell asleep. Jesus prays, “If it is possible let this cup pass . . .” Could we conclude that Jesus does not want to die such a death? The physical, human part of Jesus does not want to die this way. As Jesus prays, our eternal salvation literally hangs in the balance of His prayer. Although He knows our need for salvation, and desires along with the Father for man to have salvation, Jesus wants to do this differently.

At this point, Jesus utters a word which changes everything for Him. Jesus simply says, “NEVERTHELESS, not my will but Yours be done.” --- "Nevertheless," what a word! What a concept! What love! Jesus would submit not to His own wishes, hopes, or happiness, but to the will of God the Father.

"Nevertheless!" The world needs this attitude toward God. Our Nation needs this attitude toward God. Our State, our community, and churches need this attitude toward God. You and I – we need this attitude toward God. Peter says in 1 Peter 4:1-2, "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God" (ESV - emphasis mine: SMc).

How will a "Nevertheless Attitude" affect your worship? How will a "Nevertheless Attitude" affect your daily living?

My challenge -- Live "Nevertheless" for God!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Revelation and Perseverance

Monday I attended an area preacher's meeting at 6th Avenue church of Christ in Jasper, Alabama. Levi Sides and Vance Hutton both handed each of us a stack of outlines to study. One of these outlines is an old outline of Revelation based on the idea of perseverance. I am going to have to take time to study this outline more, but I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Revelation: Perseverance Challenged!
I. Perseverance challenged with earthly trials (Rev 1-11)
A. Christ's presence encourages perseverance (Rev 1-3)
B. The world's persecutions threaten perseverance (Rev 4-7)
C. God's judgments strengthen perseverance (Rev 8-11)

II. Perseverance challenged with spiritual conflict (Rev 12-22)
A. Perseverance is needed because of the great conflict between good and evil. (Rev 12-14)
B. Perseverance marks those who are truly God's children (Rev 15-16)
C. Perseverance triumphs over persecution, deceit, and worldliness (Rev 17-19)
D. Perseverance will stand triumphant in eternity (Rev 20-22)

Blessed is the one that OVERCOMES!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunday's Spaghetti

This beautiful plate of spaghetti and meatballs is not what it seems. This is a creation of my wonderful wife. More about that later . . .

Sunday afternoon, our young people met for a pasta meal and to study Proverbs 17-19 for the Walker County Youth Bible Bowl. Our young team (oldest member is 16 youngest is in first grade) is doing well on the test, and are studying hard.

One of the benefits of Bible Bowl is our young people put extra time into learning the Bible. This years trek through chapters 12-31 of Proverbs is challenging when we get to the day of Bible Bowl, but the lessons we are learning as we get there are invaluable. If you do not have a Bible Bowl that meets in your area, then start one. If other congregations are not close enough or are not willing, then have the young people challenge different groups of adults (parents, deacons, ministers, elders, teachers, etc.). Great fellowship and learning about each other are great additional benefits to what you learn from the text you study.

Back to this "plate of spaghetti." What you are seeing is a dessert. Cupcakes, piped butter-cream icing (the spaghetti), a raspberry glaze (the sauce), and Ferrero Rocher Chocolates (the meatballs). Have I told you how much I love my creative and great cook of a wife?


Monday, October 19, 2009

Who Do You Love?

In our Bible class yesterday morning, Rick W. told us about three statements he heard in a sermon recently. I cannot help but think about what the preacher said. Let me know what you think.

"If you attend worship on Sunday Morning, you love 'your church.'"

"If you attend worship Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening, you love 'your preacher.'"

"I you attend worship Sundays and Wednesdays, you love the Lord."


Friday, October 16, 2009

Thanks for Dropping In

This map shows the locations of recent visitors to the Morning Drive. All I can say is wow! Who knew that someone writing about his thoughts as he drives from an Alabama town of 900 people to a town of 1,200 could attract the attention of people so far away.

I am really not surprised; the wide range has very little to do with my ability or inability to write. The power is in the Word of God that has relevance to all creation.

Thanks to all who stop by -- spread the Word.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Raising Great Kids!

(At left: My son Andrew and his cousin Katy explore a drainage ditch in Grayson, KY)

Paul tells parents, " . . . do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Eph 6:4 (English Standard Version)

HOW can we do this?
I find a method in the imagery of the words of the Psalmist “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5.
Bow season begins this weekend in Alabama, so shooting skills are on my mind. When using a bow, there are four principles to a successful shot. These principles apply to raising great kids:

1. The Direction of the arrow is pointed is important. Where am I pointing my children? Toward the things of the world or toward the things of God (2 Cor 4:16ff)
2. The Strength of the pull on the bow-string is important. How much influence do I have on my children? Am I using the opportunities given me to give them strength to follow through with faith?
3. The Timing of release is important. Sometimes we push our children to grow up too fast. When children are "dating" at when they are barely out of diapers, we create problems for the future. Allow them to be kids. Do not release them to the temptations of the world before they are ready
4. The Accuracy of Aim is important. Know where you are pointing. Aim high. Point them to God and release when they are ready.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do You Love Like Jesus?

Jesus loved the Heavenly Father - Matt 22:36-37. Do you and I love the Lord with ALL of our heart, soul, and strength, or do we love Him just a little more than self?

Jesus loved the Word of God - Matt 24:35. Do you and I spend as much time listening or reading God's word as we do to the emails, blogs, and updates of our online friends and family?

Jesus loved Prayer - He was a man of prayer, there are many instances we read of Him going off to pray. Do you and I take time out of our day to talk with God?

Jesus loved Lost Souls - Luke 19:10. He loved the lost enough to sacrifice himself for them. Do you and I love them enough to tell them about God's offer in Christ?

Jesus loved the Church - Eph 5:25. Jesus gave His life for the Church, His Bride. Do we love the church or do we find excuses not to be around

Monday, October 12, 2009

Second Chances

The dated was January 1, 1929: The Golden Bears of University of California Berkley were playing the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech in the ROSE BOWL for the National Title.

Roy Reigels of UC Berkley picked up a Georgia Tech fumble and began running it in for a touch down – the wrong way!

Reigels own team mate (Benny Lom) tried to turn him around at UC's own 3 but a wave of Georgia Tech players pushed him back the the 1. On the next play, Lom punted hoping to give Georgia Tech the ball on the other side of the Fifty Yard Line. Georgia Tech had other plans and they blocked in the Endzone for a safety.

In the locker room during half-time Reigels did what any college football player would do: He sat by himself and bawled. After a pep talk to the entire team, Coach Price of UC Berkley said, "Everyone who started the first half will start the second half." Reigels waited for all the other players to leave the locker room and asked Coach Price if he meant all the starters but himself. Coach price replied, "Roy, get up and go back – the game's only half over.”

Although Georgia Tech did go on to win by a score of 8 to 7; Georgia Tech's Coach Alexander said he never saw a player play like Reigels did in the second half.

Every Christian gets discouraged at some time is his or her walk with God. Maybe you see where you have disappointed God. You are not alone. Consider Peter (Matt 26:69ff) or Mannaseh (2 Chron 33:1-11). Both of these men failed to be pleasing to God with their words or actions. However, when Mannaseh repented, God gave him a second chance (2 Chron 33:12ff), when Jesus appeared to the apostles on the shore, He asked Peter three times, "Do you love me more than these?" Reassuring Peter, of God's love and plans for him, even if he had made a mistake.

The next time you disappoint yourself and God, ask for forgiveness and go back to work knowing the game is only half over.


Monday, October 5, 2009

When I Preach

Last Thursday on iPreach, I mentioned the following poem about preaching. After a search on Google, I found the entire poem, but was unable to find the author's name. If any one knows or finds out, please leave a comment and I will give credit where credit is definitely do.

When I Preach

When I preach, there are some who say
They could listen to me all day.

Others think I preach too long.

And some think I go about it wrong.

Some say my sermon is much too deep.

To others, it's shallow and they go to sleep.

Some report I hold them spell bound,

While others squirm and look around.

Some speak of me as an orator,

But others feel I'm a perfect bore.

Some believe I have no light,

And others think I preach just right.

Some affirm that I'm too bold,

Others wink and say I'm cold.

Some used to say I was much too young.

But others declare my spring has sprung!

Some folks tell I have met success.

Others think my work is a mess.

Some have said my pay is too low,

When they discover the pace I go.

Still others say it is above the peak,
"Why he only works three hours a week."

From all this, 'tis plain to see.

That as a preacher, I'm up a tree.

Condemned if I do, condemned if I don't;

Criticized if I will, criticized if I won't.

I can't please men of such discord,
So I'll just keep trying to please the Lord.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

George and Alice

Fellow blogger and preacher, Trey Morgan wrote earlier this week about Rules for Potlucks. His story of sweet potatoes reminded me of an event from early in my work as a minister.

I was still in college at Faulkner University and traveling every weekend to work with the church in Bay Minette, Alabama. On the weekends I would stay with different members who would also provide my meals (I gained a lot of weight the 18 months I worked there). One older couple regularly (about once a month) had me stay in their home. George & Alice were a great example of a loving couple. They had no children of their own and were in their 60's. George had retired from the Forest Service and Alice had stayed home taking care of their aging parents for most of their marriage. Alice was a southern cook and homemaker; walking into their home was like walking into the pages of Southern Living Magazine. The meals she prepare and the table she set could have graced the cover of any hospitality or food magazine.

The only thing she made that I did not like was a congealed salad. A gelatin based formed food product served on iceberg lettuce . . . and she made some every weekend I stayed. My southern upbringing taught me to eat what was offered, so every meal I was with George and Alice, I choked down my “salad” with a smile, before enjoying the field peas, chicken dressing, fried okra, etc. If Alice went to the trouble of preparing a dish I was gentleman enough to eat it.

One weekend, Alice had been busy preparing a meal for a family in need and did not take time to make a congealed salad. When she apologized, I accepted her apology by confessing my dislike for it. Alice laughed and said, “I wish I knew you didn't like that stuff. I can't stand it myself. But you ate it first every time you were here so I thought you liked it.”

Although I think we both needed to work on our communication skills, we were doing something right. We were following what Paul teaches in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” We were trying to demonstrate love.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Football Classic and a bonus Top Ten

Hope you enjoy this classic from Andy Griffith; They Call if Football.

Now that you had a mid-week chuckle; here are the top ten reasons I have decided to never attend another football game.

10. The Public address system was too loud at times and not loud enough at others.
9. There were teenage girls dressed inappropriately.
8. The referees made calls I disagreed with.
7. The coaches used the same plays they did the last few games.
6. The High School Principal did not welcome me or shake my hand.
5. The band played songs I did not know or like.
4. There were people there to socialize (gossip) and not watch the game -- those hypocrites.
3. I had to pay to get in, pay to get a snack, pay for a program -- football is all about making money or the school not about guys playing ball anymore.
2. The lady beside me screamed too loudly.

and the number one reason I have decided not to attend another football game . . .
1. Large crowds are bad on my nerves and raise my blood pressure too high.

Why do these excuses sound familiar?

Book Review: Biblical Eldership

I missed everyone yesterday. Had a full day away from my study. I make it up to you with a critical book review.

Strauch, Alexander. Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership. rev. and exp., Colorado Springs:Lewis and Roth, 2005, 337 p.

Alexander Strauch writes to correct an area of neglect and misinformation he sees as all too common in “Churches.” That area is the area of eldership and church leadership in general. In his forward Strauch admits that “churches worldwide practice some for of eldership because they believe it to be a biblical teaching” (10). The problem he proposes to solve is that most of these groups do not understand the true nature of elders and he consequently suggests a return to the “only God-given, authoritative source or authentic Christianity” (10). Strauch then begins Bible-based look at elders and elderships, dividing his information into four sections: Part One – Biblical Eldership, Part Two – Defense of Biblical Eldership, Part Three – The Exposition of Scripture, and Part Four – Related Topics.

Strauch effectively begins by debunking the idea that elders are a form of board of directors, policy-makers, financial officers, etc. (15). This concept is wide-spread in the denominational world and is also within the churches of Christ. Strauch then proceeds to define the Biblical role of elders as shepherds, overseers, leaders, and care-providers. As shepherds, elders must be spiritually alert for danger and protect the flock (congregation) from worldly influences and doctrinal error. This according to Strauch requires elders to be men who spend time with the Word of God. This time in God’s word also provides them the knowledge to “feed the flock” and lead them to godliness. Strauch does not take away all financial matters from elderships and includes such in the idea of leading as stewards or managers of God’s flock as overseers (25). Strauch also makes certain that his readers understand that elders are to assist with practical needs that include: visiting the sick, comforting the bereaved, strengthening the weak, praying for all the sheep, visiting new members, and providing counsel (29). This does not remove the responsibility from all Christians, but emphasizes that elders are servant leaders and examples for others to follow.

Strauch sees elders as members of a group that serve a local congregation. He develops this correct concept in chapter 2 on Shared Leadership, and supports the idea throughout the book as he looks at passages on elders and elder responsibility. Strauch sees that each local church should have her own elders (plural) and that they should be from among the members and not hired professionals (37). Strauch correctly states: “The concept of the pastor as the lonely, trained professional – the sacred person over the church who can never really become a part of the congregation – is utterly unscriptural” (43).

Strauch is effective in establishing that the eldership is male in make-up in chapter 3. This chapter rings of familiarity as it is similar to the material LaGard Smith writes in his book, “Male Spiritual Leadership.” Both Smith and Strauch are correct in their application of the scriptures and do so with respect to women and their valuable yet different roles they play apart from male leadership roles.

Strauch spends many pages on the qualifications of elders, not only in the chapter of qualified leadership, but in the multiple chapters that compose Part Two – Defense of Biblical Eldership and Part Three – The Exposition of Scripture. Most of the problems with Strauch’s material are in his explanation of the qualifications of elders. Strauch suggests that elders do not have to be men of advanced age. Without knowing specifically what he considers advanced age, one must realize that the early Christians would have associated the idea of elder with the elders of cities in both Hebrew and Greek cultures. These men would be older as the term “elder” indicates. Strauch also strays in assessing that elders can be single and without children. He assigns the passages in Timothy and Titus as meaning that they are sexually above reproach and are good household managers and “if” they are married, and “if” they have children then they should care for them in the right way. Strauch misses the point (see 189-193). The text says married and with children and we need to take it as such. Unmarried and childless men can and do serve in different ways.

Another area where Strauch may be shaky is in his implied understanding of the extent of an elderships authority. Although in one sentence Strauch affirms that elders serve in one local congregation, he also sees them over cities containing multiple smaller churches. If he is seeing small groups that occasionally meet separately, he may be right, but if he sees the individual cells as part of a larger unassembled body, he is not correct (144).

Strauch does his reader a great service with the word studies he isolates in separate text boxes. Much of that material gives insight into the background of the words and the thoughts of Strauch himself. These sub-sections help to understand where he is coming from as a student of God’s word.

Over-all Strauch is successful in his attempt to take a Biblical look at eldership. Although there are sections where I think he needs to study further, it might truly be said of him, “you are not far from the Kingdom.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Model of Ministry

A Model of Ministry

Last Thursday, Sept 17, Adam Faughn posted a blog I authored concerning the Church and the Pulpit. There was a lot more that I wanted to say; the following model of ministry is some of the extra material I think is valid for all ministers. This model is a practical example of the philosophy of ministry discussed in the previous chapters. This ministry model grew out of a lecture given by Randy Stephens at the FHU Lectures in the year 2000. I weekly strive to put these principles in practice

1.Build Credibility. Remember that relationships matter and that in ministry we should involve ourselves in the lives of people. Work side by side, not only in evangelism but also digging ditches. Attend sporting and school events in the community to show members and their friends your genuine interest in their lives. Have integrity and deal with people honestly.

2.Go Long Term. Remember the statement from Ruth to Naomi and Christ to his followers, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” Cultivate, fertilize, plant, water and wait for growth in people and in the church. The relationship of minister and congregation is often like marriage, it gets better over time.

3.Remember that God Looks at What We Can Become, Not What We Are. God is patient with you, therefore, be patient with his people. Look at what the congregation can become. While teaching and encouraging change remember that how you say something is as important as what you say.

4.Stay with the Text. Go through the Bible as you preach and teach. Use exposition wisely, letting the Bible speak and answer questions.

5.Know That People Still Want to See Jesus. Point to Christ not to yourself. Jesus is an attractive charismatic person, let people see Him and follow.

6.Pray Continually. Paul tells the Thessalonians to “pray with out ceasing.” Ministry cannot occur where God’s power is lacking, and pray is our connection with the power of God. Pray for the church, for people, for souls, for self, and pray for wisdom and strength. This will result in good that you may never know about.

7.Be Responsible. You are responsible to the people, not for them. You are there as a servant to help them grow closer to God through Christ. You are responsible to the eldership of your congregation, and ultimately you are responsible to God.

8.Challenge Christians. Christians need challenges to grow or they will sit idle and wither on the vine. Help the congregation set physical, financial, and spiritual growth goals. Help them set and meet evangelistic goals.

9.Teach and Live Delayed Gratification. Sports heroes do not develop overnight and neither do mature Christians. Help people see their growth and not only their short-comings

10.Welcome New Ideas and Insights. Be teachable and malleable yourself. Allow those around you to teach you and help you grow. Spend time in God’s Word and with him in solitude. Ministers must continue to grow, mature, and learn if they are to effectively teach others.

11.Be Balanced. Behold the goodness and severity of God. Teach the love of God and teach the wrath of God. Show how these go hand in hand.

Application of the above suggestions, living as a Christian should in love with God and in love with man goes a long way in making ministry the life of diligent service it should be.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Motivation for Enthusiasm

Tuesday morning I posted a list of symptoms of apathy and mentioned that a post on motivation was soon to follow. Below are scriptures with limited comment that build up my zeal whenever I focus on them.

For the wages of sin is death, (Rom 6:23). There is more to this verse, but this small quote reminds me of my destiny as a sinner.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Rom 5:6-11) This long quote and the "b" part of Rom 6:23 (but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord) demonstrates God's unlimited and incomprehensible love.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11). After reading the list of these sins, notice verse 11 -- such WERE some of you. That is who you and I were, but because of the love of God in Christ, I am no longer such.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (2 Cor 5:14) Just grasping the basics of the love that Christ has for us and what he did for us because of that love drives me to attempt to return that love.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21). This verse is the GOOD NEWS in a sound bite. God did for us in Christ, what we could not do for ourselves -- provide for our salvation.

But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Co 15:57). A theme for those who are redeemed -- shout it from the mountain tops -- THANKS BE TO GOD FOR THE VICTORY HE GAVE US IN CHRIST!!!!!!

In Christ,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lessons from the Rain

Here in the SE United States the rain set in about 15 days ago and is still here. Above is a comic strip drawn by my cousin. You can visit his web coming at Seth and Buddy

Fighting Apathy . . . Maybe.

When I was a teenager, I was reading through a BC Comic book. In one particular strip, Peter and Curls were discussing an upcoming election. Peter asked Curls if he was voting for the Apathy Party or the Lethargic Party. Curls replied, "I don't know, I just don't see any difference any more."

Apathy is a real issue not only in politics, work, or school, but apathy invades the church as well. An attitude of apathy can destroy efforts to do what needs to be and should be done. The wise man recorded, "Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys," Prov 18:9 (ESV). Apathy reveals itself in our lives and actions. Below you will find a list of symptoms of apathy. If you see more than one in your life, take time to pray and to refocus.

Symptoms of Apathy Toward the Work of God and Christ:
1. Irregular Attendance. If I struggle to be motivated to attend worship and other church events, my actions suggest I do not care.
2. Lack of Participation When I am Present. I will come to worship, but not to Bible Classes. I am here, but I will not participate in class discussions. I am here, but I will not open my mouth to sing praises. I am here, but . . . Well you get the picture.
3. Consistently Arriving Late. Tardiness indicates that an event (church in our discussion) shows a lack of concern. If I am truly excited about an event, I will arrive on time - if not early.
4. Waning Effort to Teach the Lost. This may be one of the early indicators of apathy. If I do not care about others or about the cause of Christ, I will not share the message.
5. Few (if any) Private Devotionals or Personal Studies. This is the first cause of alarm. If I am not spending time growing in my relationship with God, my lack of effort communicates that I no longer care about being with God.

Just somethings to think about. Now we need to look for motivation to get moving. That's another post.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Why I Believe . . .

As I drove through the rain this morning, a passage from the New Testament kept running through my mind, "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1 Pet 3:15 ESV)." I decided to give my readers an introduction to "Why I Believe."

1. The order of creation shores up my faith. The universe, our solar system, this earth, and our bodies are too organized and efficient to be an unintelligent accident.

2. The text of the Bible has stood the test of time and the onslaught of attacks through the centuries. Doubters, skeptics, and opponents of the Bible as the word of God are not new. They may never go away, but in my studies and research, the Bible holds up as more accurate and better preserved than any ancient text.

3. As an historical writing, the history and science recorded in the Bibles pages stands out as true. If then the history and science are true, the rest of the text is true -- including the passages about Jesus.

4. Jesus is an historical figure, and as such, the Bible claims him not to be madman, nor simply a prophet, but the Messiah of the Jews, the Christ that mankind needs. Through the sacrifice of Jesus as Christ, our loving God offers forgiveness of our sin that sentences us to hell.

5. The example of the historical figure Saul or Tarsus (a.k.a Paul) solidifies my belief. Here we have a man who was the biggest opponent of Christ and the Way of Christ than any of his peers. He was zealous to stop this movement. His conversion as recorded in Acts 9, Acts 22, and Acts 26 show his complete turn around to become one the most prominent heralds of the Good News of Jesus as the Christ.

These are just a sample of why I believe. Why do you believe?


Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Guest Blog

Don't know how many who read here read Faughn Family of Four, but I wrote the guest article there today. Take a look at my words and the other posts including Adam Faughn and his other guest writers in the series, "The Church and . . . ."

Top 10 Things You Won't Do in Heaven

Today's Top Ten List comes from notes taken during the last lesson in our Revival. Levi Sides asked the question, "Do You Really Want to Go to Heaven?" During the lesson he mentioned about 7 or 8 things we did or will do this week that we will not do in heaven. Thinking about that this morning as I drove to my study, I added a few to make it a Top Ten List.

Top Ten Things You Did This Week That You Will Not Do in Heaven . . .

10. You drove by a cemetery (Rev 21:4). There is no death in heaven.
9. You turned on a light switch (Rev 21:23). God is the light in heaven.
8. You faced temptation (Rev 20:10). Satan is banned from influencing heaven.
7. You visited or called a sick person (Rev 21:4). No sickness there.
6. You locked your door (Rev 21:27). No crime or evil in heaven
5. You aged a little - grew older, found a gray hair (Rev 21:4). All former things like aging will cease.
4. You shed a tear (Rev 21:4). No tears in heaven.
3. You took pain medicine (had a headache, back ache, etc.) (Rev 21:4). No pain in heaven.
2. You worked to earn a living or to serve your neighbor (Rev 14:13). You will rest from your labor.

And one more thing you did this week that you will not do in heaven . . .
1. You said a prayer (Rev 22:4). You will speak with God and Christ face to face.

Have great day!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do You Still Have Your Crown?

Tuesday night was the next to the last lesson in our series of Revival messages from Levi Sides. He challenged each of us present last night with the message, "Don't Let Anybody Take Your Crown."

He described our crown using Bible verses as:
  • Incorruptible - 1 Cor 9:24
  • Never Fading - 1 Pet 5:4
  • Indescribably beautiful - 1 Cor 2:9
  • A Prize of High Calling - Phil 3:14
  • A Rest - Heb 4:9-11
  • Eternal - 2 Cor 5:1
This Crown of Glory (1 Pet 5:4), of Righteousness (2 Tim 4:8), of Rejoicing (1 Thess 2:19), and of Life (Jas 1:12) is the symbol of a victorious king and belongs to the one who overcomes (Rev 2:10-11).

We must guard our crown against the one who would see us lose it. We must guard against the schemes of the devil. Certain Galatians (Gal 5:4) and Demas (2 Tim 4:10) are examples of some who forfeited their crown by returning to their old ways or by loving the things of this world more than the things of God. When we stand strong and endure to the end (Matt 10:22), we have the assurance of that Glorious Crown.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Our Revival continued yesterday evening with an challenging reminder from Brother Levi Sides. He reminded us of the Amazing nature of God's Grace. Through the years many appropriately defined Grace as God's unmerited favor toward us or in the form of this acrostic: God's Redemption (Riches) At Christ's Expense. Bro. Sides gave us a new acrostic to consider as Pillars of the Grace of God:

G - Goodness of God: God's goodness is all around us. The simple fact that the earth, when tended and cared for, provides what we need. God's goodness is especially evident in His gift of His Son.

R - Redemption of God: Redemption is a great theological concept that many of today's generation do not fully grasp. Levi gave us two great examples; 1) Captured African Natives bound for the US and Great Britain in the 1800's being bought back by family before the ship left port. 2) A man whose family gives all they have emotionally to keep him from leaving them for a lover. As I thought more about this illustration on my Morning Drive, I kept thinking of the prophet Hosea and his bride, Gomer.

A - Acceptability of God: God longs for all to be saved. He is not willing that any should perish, He is not a respecter of persons. There is nothing you can do that will prevent God from wanting to save you, nor keep Him from being able to save you. Consider Saul of Tarsus.

C - Conditions of God: Grace is God's offer, yet there are simple conditions of acceptance. These conditions are those of active obedient faith.

E - Enjoyment of God: Once we experience God' Grace, like the Ethiopian in Acts 8, we continue on our way rejoicing in our life in Christ.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Notes from our Revival

We are in the middle of our Fall Gospel Meeting at Parrish. This year our theme is "The Road to Revival." Our focus is to renew our own zeal and dedication. Levi Sides (pictured at right) is the guest speaker for this series of meetings. He presented three great lessons Sunday, and we are looking forward to the next three tonight through Wednesday. Drop by if you can, services start each night at 7:00 - you can even join us for a meal at 5:30.

During our regular Bible Class hour yesterday morning, Bro. Sides presented a lesson on The Lord's Supper. He stated that remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross is the beginning of revival. He suggested that each Sunday as we partake of Communion we should have individual (and therefore, congregational) revival as we each examine ourselves. He also reminded us that as we gather for the privileged of communing with the Lord in His supper, we are not coming to a SHRINE, or to an IDOL, nor are we making a PILGRIMAGE, but we are coming to the LORD'S TABLE as His invited guest.

Consider the following quote from Levi Side's outline: "It is the DUTY and PRIVILEGE of the LORD'S PEOPLE on the LORD'S DAY to gather around the LORD'S TABLE in the LORD'S KINGDOM, to eat the LORD'S SUPPER in remembrance of the LORD'S DEATH until the LORD'S COMING."

Christ has set His Table, prepared His guest list, and participates with us as His Supper is eaten.

Did you commune with Christ this Sunday?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another Eye Chart

Philippians 4:4.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Top Ten Human Relationship Tips

From the bottom of a pile of papers on my desk comes today's Top Ten Human Relationship Tips (a.k.a Top Ten Ways to Make Friends or Keep Them).

10. Speak to people: There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting - Phil 1:3

9. Smile at people: Some suggest it takes 72 muscles to frown and only 14 to smile - Phil 4:8

8. Call people by name: The sweetest music to any one's ears is the sound of his or her own name - Matt 7:12.

7. Be friendly and helpful: If you would have a friend, be one - Prov 18:24.

6. Be cordial: Speak and act as if everything you do is a genuine pleasure - Eccl 9:10.

5. Be interested in people: You can like everybody if you try - Gen 1:27.

4. Be generous with praise while cautious with criticism: Praise when you have opportunity - Prov 3:27 and season all your speech - Eph 4:29ff.

3. Be considerate of the feelings of others: They will appreciate it - Eph 4:32.

2. Be thoughtful of others opinions: You are not right 100% of the time, so listen to them - Phil 2:3-4.

And the NUMBER ONE Human Relationship Tip. . .

1. Be ready and willing to SERVE - 1 Pet 4:10.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Space, the Final Frontier

Just wanted to share a pic from yesterday's trip to Huntsville, Alabama. Amy and I took Andrew and his friend Hunter to the Davidson Space Exploration Center and Space and Rocket Museum. There was a lot to see and explore, if you ever get the opportunity stop in.

I spent a little time reflecting on the vastness of space. One exhibit was a 52" HD TV with pictures from Hubble. I stood amazed at not only the quality of the photographs, but the glory of God's creation. The order, the beauty, etc. can only come from the hand of the Creator!