Saturday, August 30, 2008

Information and Obedience

I think one of the reasons we disobey God is that we are convinced that we know better than He does.  We choose not to obey because we don’t think that God understands the consequences, that He doesn’t know what will happen if we do what He says.  We choose not to forgive because we think He doesn’t know how badly we’re hurt.  We choose not to give because He doesn’t understand our needs.

 

Let me assure you, He knows.

 

God knows what our obedience will cost us.  He understands that when Jesus said to “take up our cross daily and follow Him,” that humiliation and death were the likely outcomes.  He also knows the glory that will be revealed in us for the eternity we are made for.  He is, in fact, the only one with all the answers.  He is the One who knows that if you obey now, He can guide you around the pain later.  Examples?  He knows that adultery destroys lives, so He commands that certain things belong only between a husband and wife, and only after they are married.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Will we face ridicule?  Yes.  Will we have to detach from some of our surrounding culture to not even allow opposing messages into our lives and our families?  Yes. 

Another example?  Marriage is a relationship based on God’s love for His people.  It requires trust, commitment, and self-sacrifice.  So He directs His people to only marry those who are His people, because the foundation between them must be established as His word?  Do some people have lovely stories of marrying unbelievers and seeing them saved?  Yes.  Because God is able to use all things, even our own sin, to bring people to Him.

Another example?  Lies destroy, we’re told to be truthful, even if it is difficult.  We’re told to honor God with our minds, and then find that education is the key to our futures.  We’re told to assemble together to encourage, and then we realize that all those hours at church have built relationships that are there  for us in crisis.  The list could go on and on and on….

 

God knows our pain, yet forgives us!  Reread the story of the crucifixion, and understand that our paintings and art about the cross protect our sensitivities.  When the soldiers gamble for the 5th garment of Jesus, that was His last stitch of clothing.  The cross was the most humiliating, painful way of death imaginable.  And to what end?  To have people over the years, including us, to treat it lightly.  Yet there is still forgiveness for us.  Have you been hurt more than Jesus?  Doubtful.  Can you forgive?  If you have Him as Lord.  Will you still hurt?  Possibly so, but be assured your eternity is settled with One who knows your hurt.

 

God knows our needs, yet still calls on us to give.  Give to those who need help, give to provide for His work, give to missions, give here, there, everywhere.  And not just our money, but our time and our efforts.  It’s not easy sometimes, but He does know our need.  Just as He feeds the sparrows and clothes the flowers of the fields, still He provides for us.  What activates His provision is His faithfulness and our obedience.  If we are obedient to Him, He will be faithful to meet what we need.  Does this spawn a long conversation about what we need?  Certainly.  But those things that are true needs will be met if we are faithful to Him.

 

Bro. Doug Hibbard

Calvary Baptist Church

calvarybaptistmonticello.blogspot.com

 

From Dr. Turner's Blog

Once again, today I thought we'd look at Dr. Turner's weekly blog posting.


Weblog: Emil Turner | Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Weblog: Emil Turner

Vice Masquerading as Virtue

In the early 7th century an Irish monk wrote the Aipgitir Chrabaid or “Alphabet of Devotion”. This book would have been used in monasteries in Ireland and would have worked its way into sermon material for monks and itinerant preachers. It is one of the earliest documents in the Irish language. One section is powerfully relevant today.

“It is proper that we do not let vices beguile us in the guise of the virtues”, wrote Colman mac Beognai. Bulls-eye! Counterfeit virtue is circulating widely. This monk wrote that:

* Laziness (laxity) takes the disguise of compassion. Doing nothing looks more holy than opposing sin. We can always say we are “waiting on the Lord”.
* Severity takes the guise of righteousness. Being mean is a poor substitute for being holy.
* Fear takes the guise of humility. We are not humble if fear makes us act that way.
* Stinginess takes the guise of caution and moderation. No one wants to be known as stingy, so we’d rather be thought of as cautious and careful with our money.
* Wastefulness takes the guise of generosity. Real generosity occurs only with what remains after you’ve met obligations.
* Anger takes the guise of “zeal for the Lord”. If a person is always upset and angry about what others are doing, keep your distance.
* Instability takes the guise of flexibility. When you have no convictions about what you are doing, it is easy to be flexible.

What is impressive about this brief essay of medieval Christianity is that it is so relevant today. Counterfeit holiness is external and not internal, and often appears to be more religious than genuine holiness.

Holiness comes from the heart. And God is never fooled about it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Challenges

Yesterday I was blessed to see the movie “Fireproof.”  It’s not out yet, and as yet, is not slated to come to Monticello.  This is a wonderful film, and I would like to encourage anyone who can to see it when it comes out September 26th!  Let’s get it in the top 10.

 

If you are in Monticello, the only way I have heard to force Malco to bring it here is to commit to buying 1000 tickets.  That’s about $7000, and I don’t have that much.  So, if we could each respectfully call the theater manager and ask for it, that may do the trick.  Especially if we pray and ask God to do this! 

 

More thoughts from the film later…

 

Bro. Doug Hibbard

Calvary Baptist Church

calvarybaptistmonticello.blogspot.com

 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kittens

We now have 7 kittens in our house. We're probably going to name them after Memphis landmarks, since they moved down here with us from there. They're so cute and helpless.

Reminds me of me somedays. Not cute, but helpless. In desperate need of having God provide for me, meet my needs for security and provision. You know, I think the days that I start like that turn out to be my best ones.

Parenting Perceptions

Anonymous said...

I have a question....I am the father of an 8 year-old and sometimes I think I'm a very good parent and other times I believe that I am a complete failure.....why is that?
I think I just answered it myself!!


I would respond to Anonymous with this answer: The evaluation of your parenting is whether you are being faithful to God's word and His direction. You cannot judge yourself to being doing well or poorly based on your own thoughts or by comparing to other children. Ask yourself these things:
1. Am I personally seeking God's word to guide my own life?
2. Am I praying daily for my child/
3. Am I striving to train my child in God's word?
4. Am I lovingly correcting my child in errors and lovingly encouraging my child in right decisions?
5. Am I willing to ask God's forgiveness for all my sins, and to acknowledge my need to do so to my child?

Will you always answer yes? Somedays you will consider yourself doing well on all of these, somedays you will feel like a total failure. However, I would encourage you to look across the lifetime of your child. If your child is 8, then you've had 2922 days or 70128 hours. While you want to make the most of each, don't think that one bad day will undo all of those. And realize that you will be a lifetime influence on your child.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

But...

The man woke up, and looked at the clock, and told his wife he was going back to sleep.

His wife said, but, dear, it's Sunday, we need to go to church.

He told her he wasn't going, because nobody liked him there, and everyone was mean.  Besides, the sermons were bad and the music boring.

She said you're going, and that's final.  

He asked for two good reasons.

She said:
1.  It's good for you.
2.  You're the pastor.....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Where did Cain get his wife?

The question has been raised, Where did Cain get his wife?


To answer the question, Cain married his sister. The reason that we all are taught to avoid marrying close relatives is because of the probability of passing on genetic mutations. At the time of Cain, the number of mutations being carried was much lower, so there was no reason to prohibit the close marriages. These became unlawful in the time of the Law, around 1500 B.C. When you read through Genesis, you see several marriages that are to near relatives, like cousins.

The Bible doesn’t directly say where Cain got his wife because it is fairly obvious. If Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters (which they did, see Gen. 5), these were the only other people on earth.

Bro. Doug Hibbard

Calvary Baptist Church--Loving, Sharing, and Serving

http://calvarybaptistmonticello.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to it

It's been a week where getting stuff on the web hasn't taken a real high priority. There are some things that I need to get up here, and I'll try and catch up this weekend. Right now, I want to leave you with the reminder that God is there through everything, and I hope you will let Him work through you today!

----------------
Now playing: Chris Tomlin - Everlasting God
via FoxyTunes

Friday, August 15, 2008

Update on What Happened at the ABSC

Weblog: Emil Turner | Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Weblog: Emil Turner

Heroism

I have met a few heroes. Selflessness sets them apart. Most of them, when explaining their heroic action say something to the effect of “I did not think about it, I just did it”. And all of us who know them thank God for them.

Meet Kirby Martin. While I have always appreciated him, and liked him, I now know that he is a hero. Kirby has served the Arkansas Baptist State Convention for more than fifteen years. As building superintendent he takes care of our physical plant, supervises our print room, reception area, and telephone system. Those of us who work with him have profited from his “going the extra mile” by helping us with home repair projects, automobile problems, airport pickups, and a host of other things that he does without complaint. Kirby is a hero.

On August 13, Timothy Dale Johnson shot and killed a state political leader seven blocks from our offices. Johnson then drove to our building, reloaded one of his guns, and for reasons unknown to us, began to walk our halls with gun in hand. None of our staff knew he had already shot and killed someone, but several recognized him as distraught and offered assistance. When our receptionist noticed Johnson, she called Kirby, using a special code to indicate there was an emergency. Kirby came to our lobby as Johnson went into a stairwell on his way to our second floor. There they came face to face and Johnson put a gun to Kirby’s head and cocked it. Kirby then turned his back on Johnson, went to the receptionist, and instructed her to call 911. Johnson continued upstairs and began to walk our halls, again with gun in hand.

By acting instinctively, and by calling the police Kirby had already proven to be a hero. But it was not enough. Knowing that Johnson was upstairs, that he had a gun, and that he had already been threatened by Johnson, Kirby went back upstairs to confront Johnson again. Meeting him near the elevator, Kirby opened the door and motioned Johnson to join him in the elevator. They rode down the elevator together and Kirby ushered Johnson from the building. As police began to arrive, Kirby directed them to Johnson and his escape route. What followed was a lengthy chase and Johnson’s death in a shootout.

We are grieved by the death of Johnson’s victim, and his own death. Families and communities are brokenhearted by these events. But we are awed by Kirby Martin’s selflessness. The first encounter with Johnson was no doubt instinctual. But the second was calculated self sacrifice. Kirby placed himself at risk, knowing the probable consequences, and acted to protect the rest of us. Arkansas Baptists are served by a hero. Pray for our staff, for Kirby, for the grieving families and join us in thanking God that He spared us.

“Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends”. John 15:13


turner_emil.jpg Emil Turner serves as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and two grandsons. Turner enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

From Emil Turner at the ABSC

I read other people's blogs to keep current, and thought I would share with you the latest post from Emil Turner. Dr. Turner is a lifelong Baptist preacher who now leads the Arkansas Baptist State Convention's ministry. Here was his post:

Weblog: Emil Turner | Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Weblog: Emil Turner

A Guide to Worship Etiquette…

FBC, Hot Springs recently included a piece in the bulletin entitled “Worship Etiquette”. The brief items included turning off cell phones, taking children to the bathroom prior to the service, actively participating in worship, having a prayerful spirit, and not leaving during the invitation. Excellent suggestions. You could also include them in the power point loop that shows prior to the service.

The Bible includes some worship etiquette among Paul’s instructions for celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and in 1 Timothy 3, and in the book of James. There we learn that we should deal with our sin before engaging in worship, that we should exercise sobriety and decorum, and that we should treat all worshippers with equal respect.

There are some other worship etiquette items I might mention.

1. Members should not park in places marked for guests.
2. Announcements should be limited to only those things not written in the bulletins or displayed in the power point loops. (Wasting time is rude)
3. Use the Bible. “Power point” scripture is convenient, but lost and unchurched people EXPECT to hear the Bible read, and to read their own Bibles. Provide Bibles for people who don’t have one, but use the Bible.
4. Someone in each worship service should make a point of praying for the worshippers. Jesus prays for those who worship Him, and nothing demonstrates compassion more than praying for the people around you.
5. Church members should ask guests, “How can we help you?”
6. Staff members should never make fun of anyone during the service. Humor at someone else’s expense is unwise, and communicates a lack of respect.
7. If you are in the choir, or if the services are televised-- stay awake! If the sermon won’t keep you awake, have a cup of coffee between Sunday School and worship.


Good behavior in worship indicates a reverence for the One whom we worship. Show kindness and respect for other worshippers because they deserve it, but also because He bestows these things on us and on them. Follow His example and you will demonstrate good manners in worship.


Emil Turner serves as executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and two grandsons. Turner enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time.


What do you consider proper etiquette at church? It should be things that will help us to remember that there are other people at church, not just us. It also shouldn't be so restrictive that it keeps people from coming to church. Just some things to ponder. I like the above list. It helps people remember that they are not the only one there.

Post Office

Ok, so this isn't a real thought provoking post, but I just got back from the Post Office here in Monticello. And I must admit, the two times I've been in the Monticello Post Office, I have dealt with two different people who have been the nicest postal folks I've encountered. If they weren't so busy, I'd ask why...but I'll hazard a guess that they are content with much of the rest of their lives, so work isn't always the downer that many of us have.

How about you? Are you beginning the day with the Peace of God? Or are you beginning the day with dread? It makes a difference..

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ideas and actions

For those of you who don't know me, I am very much an idea person. You give me some basic information, and challenge me to come with some long-term ideas, guiding principles, and the like, and I can take a few days and give so wonderful thoughts. Where I struggle is in taking the intermediate steps to get from where I am right now to those points. This is a part of why we need each other to function. Some people can organize to reach those steps, but have difficulty dreaming forward with ideas. There's nothing wrong with either one, it's that we are created to live in community with others, and we are intended to balance out one another's weaknesses and strengths.

It's much like sailing a ship. You have a lookout high up, seeing far ahead, you have a captain and navigator with charts and then you have people manning the tiller (controls the rudder), setting the sails, scrubbing the deck, and everything else. Each role is crucial, and the captain and the navigator would do well not to get frustrated. There are winds you must wait for, (and a Biblical insight here, the word for Spirit and wind are the same in Hebrew and Greek, the two main languages of Scripture) tides to count on, and the slow change effected by the rudder. It will always take time to accomplish long-term success. (Yes, I know, why else is it long-term!) It will be worth the trip, but it will just take time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mom's Fingertip

Just a quick prayer request. Apparently my mother was involved in an accident in Baton Rouge, LA, in her hotel (she's down there for some museum group meeting. She's part of the State of Louisiana Museum Department.), and has managed to sever the tip of her middle finger. So, if you would pray for speedy recovery and wisdom to know whether someone needs to go get her or she needs to recover down there for a few days. Thanks.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fill your tank!

I was driving Wayne Adams' lawnmower around the yard one more time this morning when, quite surpisingly, it died. Just gave out completely, wouldn't start, wouldn't budge. What was the cause of this? Well, if you read the title, you already know. It was out of gas!!!! That's right, you have to put gas in lawnmowers too! (This is why I think a cow would be preferable. They eat grass, and give milk, saving me on gas and milk.) Sure enough, a quick fill-up of the tank, and I was back on my way.

Why do I think this is important to share? Well, we don't run on gas, but our tanks can still get empty. We still need to take the time and fill up. What do we need filled with?

#1: The Spirit of God. We know that we are baptized in the Spirit, and receive Him when we accept Christ as Lord, but He allows us to push His control back from our lives. We need to allow all of our life to be filled with Him. One way is to be involved in Bible Study to deepen our understanding of who God is, and how He works in our lives.

#2: Encouragment: We need to be filled with encouragement. How do we get there? By being encouragers of the people around us, and by spending time with people who will encourage us. Encouragement is not just empty positive talk. Encouragement is about helping people see who they are as God's creation and how they can more fully allow His reign in their lives. It's about helping them out of potholes and past obstacles.

Where do we get easy access to these? Hopefully you find them at your church. I encourage you to go to church this week and see!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Minor Details

Ok, so we got the van back from Ryburn's Wednesday night, and they had fixed it. Replaced the throttle body controller, 2 O2 sensors, the Map sensor, the sparkplugs, and I'm not even sure what else. I asked what had happened, and they explained that the throttle body controller has a plastic piece on it where the cable from the gas pedal comes into it, and that the plastic piece had broken. (I knew the plastic piece broke. I had duct-taped the cable back into it, because with the plastic piece broken, the car wouldn't go. That was the only way to make the van go.) Moving on, since the throttle controller was now out of balance, too much gas was being dumped into the engine, which fouled up everything else.

This got me thinking about how we sometimes don't pay attention to the little things of life. A little piece of plastic doesn't seem like much, but apparently it's a very significant part of holding together V6 3.3L Flex Fuel Dodge Engines. Without it working right, the whole thing just goes 'splat.'

The little things in our lives sometimes don't seem like much, they are what holds us together, and when we let them slide, we start to fall apart. First it's just that we'll skip reading our Bible today, or we won't pray before this meal, then it's that we just can't quite make this worship service or can't get up for Sunday School. Then, these new habits end up pulling our whole life down. First missing one service a month or so was odd, now missing two is normal. We begin to lose our grip on who we are supposed to be.

So how do we come back? Well, fortunately, the church doesn't charge for repair or even diagnostics! And, most of us already have at least one copy of the manual sitting around the house. We just need to start with the small steps to come back. Dust off the Bible, start to read it. Make the effort to get to Sunday School. Come on back Sunday night! It's not that bad, and there's still plenty of back seats! Start with little steps, and you will be amazed at how far the Lord will bring you.

Watch for some other new things coming on this blog and the church blog. I've got some ideas that we want to share and want you all to see.

Also, hopefully I'll get our Bible Basics information posted to the Google Knol Database soon.

Doug

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God's provision and action

I'm a still a little bit stressed by this whole car repair thing. I really want my life and the life of my family to serve as an example of God at work in our lives, and I want people to see God's provision for life in what we do. The problem is, I don't have $1500 to fix the van. While I am currently well-compensated as a pastor, when I was bi-vocational, almost all of my pastoral income went to the expenses I incurred to be the pastor, so we don't have any savings. (I know, that's bad. But God has always provided when we've needed.) So, we'll pay for the van repair by going deeper into debt, which is something we are desperately trying to not do. This seems like just another ordinary day, nothing too miraculous happening.

That's what I have been thinking. But, now I've been corrected. First of all, we do have some savings. We have the remnant of the 401(k) money that UPS paid me, and tomorrow I can request that payout. It should be enough to cover the van repair. Second, we have a paid-off credit card that we can use for the expense, so we won't pay any interest. Third, at 167,000 miles, the van could have just imploded. We're very blessed that you can put some parts in the engine and supposedly it will go again (of course, the spark plugs had better be diamond-tipped solid gold or something!!!)

You know where I'm seeing the real work of the Lord in this? I'm seeing how much of a community we are as a church. Yesterday a church member stopped by the dealership and persuaded the used car department to loan me a vehicle for the day (2008 Chevy Malibu. I didn't drool on it too much. Especially after I found out they want 10% above book value for it.). Then, last night after returning my loaner, as I was finding out how much it would cost, and how long it will take, I turn around and Felicia and Michael Shepherd were there, taking the church bus to be looked at by the shop. So, instead of walking home, I rode with the two of them out to Donny and Felicia's, and they loaned Ann and I their Trailblazer for a couple of days. Meanwhile, our phone has rung consistently with people checking to make sure we don't need anything or offering us rides, whatever we needed. It's nice to feel that love.

Another good thing is that yesterday gave me an opportunity to, quite literally, put legs under something that is important. We live in a day where people look for reasons to tear down ministers. Too many of us have slipped and fallen, and done things we should not have done. So, to protect my ability to present God's Word, there are certain things I try not to do. One of them is to be alone with women I am not married to. On very rare occasions, this is impossible, but if I can avoid it, that's better. Especially to ride around town with just myself and another lady, there are too many ways that can be misinterpreted. This isn't about trust or distrust of any church members, but about how the unbelieving world assumes on what they see. So, yesterday, while I appreciated the offers of transportation I received, it was a situation where I could walk and prevent an appearance of possible impropriety. Did I want to do that? Goodness no. It's hot out there! Was it a minor price to pay? Certainly. I was reminded of a story about Billy Graham and his trip to London to preach. European TV allows nudity on broadcast channels and basic cable, something that we are still fighting to keep away here. Rev. Graham went into his hotel room and immediately tried to unhook the cable from the TV. Seeing it couldn't be unhooked, he reached and yanked the cable from the wall. One of his associates asked him if he had considered the cost of repair, to which the Evangelist replied that 'we can replace the cable and the wall, but we cannot replace what God intends to do.' I do not claim to be Billy Graham's equal. In fact, I'm not quite worthy to sweep his floors, but he has set an example of integrity in ministry that is worth trying to follow.

To anyone who thought I was being stubborn by not accepting help yesterday, you're right. I'm stubborn. But it's not about the help.

Ebay!

Did you know you can buy cars on EBay? I was about to bid $.01 on a Porsche, then I looked at the shipping.....

I've been on eBay this week, looking for some other things. I think I've found Ann's Christmas presents, but since it's her eBay account, she won't be surprised. Oh well. I took a little detour into the electronics side, and got to thinking about how much some of those items sell for. Some people are paying almost the same as retail for items that are used, refurbished, or, in truth, possibly stolen. (I should look for my mower!!!) Why do they do it? Because in the excitement of competition, we don't think about the true cost. Even eBay's advertising about 'Shop Victoriously!' pushes us to toss aside the cost, and win!

Our competive nature causes us to do things without considering the true cost. We all want to be the best, we want to excel, we want to win. Even preachers are that way. I want our church to be the best. I want us to be so much better then those Methodists or Presbyterians or Missionary Baptists! I want to beat all the churches in our association in baptisms!! I want to be the best church in the Arkansas Convention, even the nation!!!! We'll stop at nothing to get there!!!


Ok, had to come back to this after calming down. Obviously, I got a little carried away in that last paragraph. My fingers could hardly move fast enough. Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be the best, with wanting to excel, it's that when we get wrapped up in it, and put that last sentence on there that we get in trouble. Usually we won't say it, but we think that, and worse, that thought becomes action. And if we can't get better, we'll work to undermine others, so that we will be better.

We do this because we're insecure. We live in a culture dominated by winning or losing, and we need to get past it. All the winning we need was done on one weekend, when sin lost to the blood of Christ, and death lost to His resurrection. Because our identity is in Him, and not in where we rank, we need to lay off the competition sometimes. We still want to do all things with excellence, because this will glorify God, but it's not about doing things better than Second Baptist, but about doing things to the standard of our Lord.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cars

I think that we would be better off without cars. Can we go back to horse and buggy? I mean, horses will automatically produce new horses, and so when one breaks down, you can move on to a new one...although I don't think I'd have the heart to shoot the old one.



I would be glad right now, though, to shoot the van. Many of you know the feeling. You're still paying for a vehicle and then it something goes wrong with it, and the cost to fix it is several months worth of payments. Never mind all the days it has worked, the days it doesn't work make you wish you could just get rid of it and get a new one. It's frustrating.



That's where we are with the van right now. It's at Ryburn's, since 2 of the parts it needed are only available from a dealer, and it's got to be fixed, since it's hard to live without one. Hopefully it will be ready Wednesday, if they can get the parts from their warehouse in time to get it fixed. (For what it's costing, they can take the parts off a new one. Or unscrew the radiator cap and screw a new engine and van underneath it, and we'll be even.)



It's disturbing how easily I got frustrated by this. God is so much bigger, but I get bogged down by the details. Somehow I get disconnected between God being the God of chariots and horses and not being God of horseless carriages. He is greater than all of this. I'll address how He's working in this in another post.

July 5 Service Recap

Good morning! Here are the service recaps from last week. First we’ll see the morning services, both the 9 AM and the 11 AM, then there will...