Thursday, July 30, 2009

Where I Used to Go to Church

Someone recently reminded me of a story of a man who spent five years isolated on a deserted island. When rescued those rescuing him noticed three straw huts, and asked him what they were. "That first one," he said pointing, "is my house." "The last one over there is where I go to church, and the one in the middle is where I used to go, but we had a split over what the preacher was being paid."

It is sad that Christians will let simple things of likes and dislikes, the opinions of others, or financial disagreements get in the way of their walk with God. There may be a right time to look for a new church home, but too many of us swap churches quicker that we change automobiles. Before we leave a congregation where we invested so much time and energy, we ought to try to get along.

Jesus said the world would know His disciples by their love (Jn 13:35). Leaving in a tiff, does not demonstrate love.

Jesus also taught conflict resolution,
  • "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Mat 5:23-24)
  • "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." (Mat 18:15-17)
Notice that Jesus teaches that whether I am the offended or the offender that I am the one to make the first step is seeking reconciliation. It is always my turn as God's child to try to work things out.

Take time to study through these verses again, and pray for the strength to put them into practice.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Too Much Coffee Day

Since our friend Chris at Preacher's Pen declared today as National Too Much Coffee Day, I thought I would respond with a Hoops and YoYo video about Coffee.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Removing the Evidence

According to an often forwarded email; here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews. Having lived in and worked in an Air Force town and known both pilots and mechanics, I would not be surprised if these statements are true.

  • Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement." /Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."
  • Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough." /Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."
  • Problem: "Something loose in cockpit." /Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."
  • Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud." /Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."
  • Problem: "Dead bugs on windshield."/ Solution: "Live bugs on order."
  • Problem: "IFF inoperative." /Solution: "IFF inoperative in OFF mode."
  • Problem: "Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick." /Solution: "That's what they're there for."
  • Problem: "Number three engine missing." /Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."
  • Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear." /Solution: "Evidence removed."

That last one got my attention. It describes how many of us try to deal with our spiritual shortcomings. There's evidence of sin in our lives, but instead of trying to correct the problem, we merely try to remove the evidence. But only when we are honest before God is there hope of forgiveness.

David discloses a better attitude in Psalm 51:1-3, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. "

No more hiding of evidence, as there once had been in David's life. Merely an honesty and a remorse about what he had done, and a desire to once again be right in God's eyes.

May we learn from David, the man after God's own heart. Scott

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Gift from a Child

Yesterday was a great day! As we were welcoming a greeting each other before Bible Classes yesterday morning, Surayah (a sweet little 2nd grader) gave me an envelope, smiled and walked away. The envelope was addressed to a missionary that visited a few weeks ago. In the envelope was some change and a few small bills. She had collected some money for the missionary! My heart sank! What a great heart. No wonder Jesus pulled children aside and said that the kingdom is made of those who are like children.

My prayer this morning is that we all grow to be like this little girl. That we have hearts full of love and compassion for the lost and a willingness to do our part to bring them to Christ.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

What Must I Do - a guest video

A proud uncle (me) shares this video from his nephew. Daniel preaches in Sweetwater, TN -- he has a degree in telecommunications from Austin Peay State University. He also the son and nephew of preachers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Your Attention Please

Driving a highway near Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, I saw what looked like an International Scout parked in a field. Then I noticed that a couple of "Hillbilly Hounds" were enjoying a drive of their own. Alright, it was a prop to get the attention of tourists and in my case it worked, but I think I have seen those same fellows (or their kin) driving around my county! I thought it was funny and had Amy take this picture when we drove back by.

That does make me wonder what gets and keeps our attention. Not far from Mammoth Cave is Bowling Green, KY where GM makes the Corvette. There is also a Museum nearby dedicated to the history of the Corvette. It was a good visit. Do sports cars, luxury cars, expensive cars grab your attention. I knew a couple who placed a picture of a certain luxury car on their refrigerator as a goal that one day they would be able to afford that car.

Some of us dream of exotic vacations; others value fame. These things and other things of the world pull at us gaining our attention. Recently, the world stood still for a funeral of an entertainer, while somewhere a Gold Star Mother quietly buried her son who died in the cause of freedom. For her son there was no gold casket, no parade of music and movie stars, just a lonely trumpet playing taps as a seven guns fired three rounds each. Fame, fortune, talent, and glamor attract those in the world.

What grabs your attention? Do you notice people praying in restaurants? Do you look forward to spending time with God in prayer or in study? What is the focus of your life?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where Do You Come From?

Last week, we took a vacation as a family. We traveled to different parts of Kentucky and Tennessee but took an excursion into Southern Ohio to show my wife and son where my dad's family is from. The grave stone above is my great-grandfather Sylvester McCown. We also took a picture of his father's stone. I think the house below belonged to one set of my great-grandparents. My son (age 12) and my cousin's daughter (age 11) thought this trip to see cemeteries was "boring." Both of them kept asking why we wanted to see all these "dead people's graves." We tried to explain the importance of knowing who your ancestors were. Yet, I remember feeling the same way my son did when I was his age and we took vacations in Ohio. I wanted to explore the mountains, hills, old barns, the Ohio River banks, etc. Riding for an hour or so going from graveyard to graveyard was not fun then.

Now that I am in my 40's there is a desire to know more about these people. Seeing their tombstones, and some of their former homes brought up the following questions in my mind: What were they like? What did they do? How did they survive? When the first of them ventured into Ohio and West Virginia that area was frontier land. Some literally had to push back the wilderness so they could settle.

There was also a great reminder in viewing homes and graves. I began to consider my own humanity and my own "appointment" with death (Heb 9:27). The last of my great-grandparents died in 1967 the year I was born. I am fortunate to have one grandparent still living. People who live eventually die. Am I ready? Are you ready? When I am no longer here, and my descendants visit my grave, what will they know about me? What legacy will I leave them? Sylvester was a hard-working timber man, his son (my grandfather) Herbert worked the locks and barges on the Ohio River. Will my grandchildren, great-grandchildren know me as an honest worker, will they know my passion for the Lord?

I think I will take a moment today and pray for the generations that will follow me, starting with my son (and your children / grandchildren). I ask you to do the same.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Yesterday, I was leaving the hospital after visiting with June, one of the members here who is to undergoing tests to see if she needs surgery. After visiting and praying with June, I made may way down the stairs toward the exit. As I was leaving, Rhonda B and her daughter Olivia were leaving the hospital as well. Olivia had her tonsils removed - she was not very talkative. I also saw two brothers Bryant (age 12) and Colin (age 9) sitting in the vending area. Bryant and my son attend school together (since kindergarten) and the visit our congregation during VBS and through the year when they are spending the night with friends who attend with us. Colin was in my wife's 1st Grade class a couple of years ago. I have visited with the Grandmother when she was in the hospital. Why do I share this background? Let me quote our conversation at the hospital yesterday.

"Hey, guys" I said, "what brings you to the hospital?" I thought maybe their mom, dad, or Granny might be there for tests, surgery, etc.

"Granny's visiting a friend upstairs and we are with her 'cause mom and dad are at work." Bryant said.

Colin spoke up, "Bryant, shut up! We are not supposed to talk to strangers." I looked at Colin to remind him who I was, only to see him grinning ear to ear before he added, "and no one's stranger than Mr. McCown!"

Brothers! Boys! Kids! Whatever happened to respecting your elders? Actually, I felt complimented that a couple of boys were comfortable enough with me to tease.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who Cares?

Depression hurts. Currently in the US pharmaceutical companies are running advertisements for different medications for the treatment of depression. When one suffers from any level of depression they need encouragement. They need to know someone cares. Even if you are simply feeling "down" or "blue" you need reassurance that someone cares. If you have your moments of self-doubt or if you ever feel alone know the following:

1. Your real friends care - Prov 27:9, "Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel."

2. Your family cares - Matt 7:9-10, "Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?"

3. The Creator cares - Rom 8:31-32, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"

4. The Savior cares - John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

BTW -- I care too, even if I do not know you personally. I daily pray for you as a reader of this blog.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Ten Years and Counting

Ten years ago a young preacher, his wife, and 23 month old son left a good congregation in Niceville, Florida where he had served as Youth Minister and then Preaching Minister and head for a smaller, rural congregation in the Alabama Foothills of the Appalachians. Ten years ago the drove up the the building on the left nervous, but trusting in God that they had made a good decision and that God would bless them in this new work. Five years later that congregation moved into the new building on the right.

Yesterday, Amy, Andrew, and I celebrated ten years with the Church in Parrish, Alabama. God has blessed us in this work and every day we realize the blessings we have from this great group of Christians. Ten years ago 75 - 80 people assembled on that first Sunday in July, this past year an average of 140 assemble each Sunday. The leadership here planned for growth and with God's help we grew and I pray we continue to.

Yesterday, two men asked for prayers of the church. One, a family man, asked for prayers that he might be a better spiritual leader for his family. The second, a single man who fell away from Christ many years ago, stated that he needed to be restored to Christ and His church. What a great way to celebrate 10 years.

Keep praying for our work. We are praying for you. (Phil 1:3)


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Modern Luxuries -- make that needs.

"Little luxury, don't you cry,
You'll be a necessity by and by."

We spent last night in a house without a working Air Conditioner. For those not in the Deep South this may not seem a big deal, but a muggy, breezeless, summer night will really get to you. It was warm, but really not that bad. Our house, even with old widows that no longer open, was built for such weather. The house on the right is mine (well it will be when I finish paying off the mortgage). The original owners built this house in 1911 - '12 long before modern conveniences of running water, telephone, electricity, and definitely before central air-conditioning. Last night I was quite thankful for 12' ceilings and the natural air currents.

This morning has me thanking God for the blessings of the modern conveniences we take for granted. Along those lines I began to wonder what other things we take for granted. Just thinking about the changes this house has seen in technology. From no electricity to a single wire hung bulb to wires running throughout the house controlled by fuses, and then breakers and a grounded electrical system. This house has seen no running water and no kitchen to running water and a modern kitchen with running water both hot and cold (we could also mention the convenience of having other indoor facilities). This house has seen the installation of a telephone and the advances from party-lines to dial phones to touch-tone cordless phones and answering machines. Now through the phone line we have DSL, and recently a cellular company put a tower in our town so we have cell phones that work in our house. I can barely imagine what this 94 year old house will see next.

It was not that long ago that these necessities like telephones and air-conditioners were luxuries. The A/C repair man just called -- he is on the way! Maybe we'll sleep in A/C tonight :-)


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Top Ten Children's Questions to God

And now today's Top Ten list is from the files in Parrish, Alabama. Top Ten Children's Questions to God.

10. When you got elected, did you get all the votes?
9. Why isn't Mrs. God's name mentioned in the Bible? Were you not married to her when you wrote it?
8. There were no clouds on Saturday and I think I saw your feet. Did I?
7. When you made the first man, did he work as good as we do now?
6. Why did you make people speak foreign languages? It would be easier if everybody spoke English like you and me.
5. Is it O.K. to talk to you even when I don't want anything?
4. Where did yesterday go? Do you have it?
3. I am afraid of things at night more than in the daytime. So, could you keep the sun on longer? That would be a good thing for me.
2. I know there is a God because I go by his house and see all your cars parked there. What is your favorite car?

And the number one question children have for God . . . .

1. How come you only have ten rules, but our school has millions?

* for those that are curious -- that is me on the right and my childhood friend Tom on the left.