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.