Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31 2009

Proverbs 31:10-31 ->Why do we expect women to be all this and let deacons and pastors pick and choose from 1 Timothy 3?

Proverbs 31:30-31 ->Again, though, do not praise your self or seek out praise, but let praise find you.

Revelation 9:20-21 ->Hardened people just flat out refuse to change.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 ->Don't allow earthly wealth to pull you aside from that which is best.

Quote: "Do not make riches, but usefulness, your first aim; and let your chief pride be that your daily occupation is in the line of progress and development; that your work, in whatever capacity it may be, is useful work, honestly conducted, and as such ennobling to your life." - Andrew Carnegie

Thought #1: Money cannot be your chief aim of life. Take it from people who had it!

Thought #2: Hm, this sounds similar to what Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:17-19 about not enjoying riches but good works & righteousness.
Moving toward the Horizon,

Friday, May 29, 2009

The promised randoms

Ok, I left you hanging last week, with no random thoughts. Here's what I've got so far:

1. (This was already on my twitter feed, but it's worth repeating) is thinking that many more trees must die before I go this route:

2. Redneck Axiom of life #47: That which does not kill me makes a great home video.

3. I was watching ESPN the other day, and they were advertising Nutrisystem for Men, to help men with weight loss. Who's in the commercial? Dan Marino, good idea. Mike Golic, another football player, also a good idea. Some lady in a bikini? What are they saying? That if I use Nutrisystem, I'll look good in a bikini? No thanks....

4. I just finished Unit 1, Level 1, of Polish in Rosetta Stone. I'm now capable of asking for a plate in Polish. I can't ask for the bathroom, the airport, or how I woke up in Poland, but I can ask a doctor for a plate or a policeman for an apple. So, in certain circumstances, I'm good.

5. Memorial Day last weekend prompted a History Channel rerun of Band of Brothers. I remain in awe of those men, and the men and women throughout history that have fought for what is right. May we never take that for granted.

6. We bought a $30 Wal-mart special grill this week, so far I have managed to make chicken, burgers, and steak all taste like lighter fluid. Laissez les bon temps roulez!!

7. Odd moment from the past two weeks---an ex-fiance 'friended' me on Facebook, asking how I knew a lady she knew, that was showing up as a mutual friend. It's somebody I had one dance with in high school, and actually had a crush on for a time. Small world, no?

8. It's a running joke in our family about being attacked by giant chickens. Then I found this website: The Poultry News Network. It's real, people. Lock your doors.

9. I mowed the swamp this week. I'll have tire tracks for the rest of the summer now.

10. Still want to sell our house in Mississippi. Anybody want it? Its rented out, so it's a great investment opportunity!

11. One of the Texas Baptist groups is calling on their churches to try and present the Gospel to everyone in Texas in their native language by next Easter. Sounds like a good plan. Anybody else want to take it on? I'm thinking I'll see how many we can get to in Drew County.

12. If we don't get the mosquitos under control around here, I'll get denied next time I try to give blood.

13. I now carry a Blackberry Pearl. It's great. But I have a tip for all of my fellow BB users: You don't have to grab it everytime it notifies you of an email!! Give it a rest.

14. Saw the new Night at the Museum movie. It was a worthy sequel to the first one. And movie critics need to understand something: Most of us do not go to movies to experience realism or reality. I have enough reality. I go to movies for escapism. I don't care that it's unrealistic no one would notice Abe Lincoln's marble likeness roaming around DC. Really, I don't. Because, to be honest, it would be better than who is roaming around DC: POLITICIANS!!


16. I couldn't come up with 15!

have a great weekend!!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Repost from Emil Turner's Blog

I haven't been reposting Dr. Turner's posts from the ABSC, but I thought this one needed to be seen. Check out Dr. Turner's blog on Fridays at

An old joke: she turned the wrong way on a one way street, and then increased her speed. “We’re going to be late,” she said, “Everyone is coming back.” Wrong. It’s funny from a distance, but up close it is dangerous and wrong.

Some things I have observed in churches that are just wrong:

  1. Someone wants to terminate the pastor while he is out of town on vacation.
  2. A pastoral candidate has an agenda that will require a major change in the church, but he never mentions it in the interview process.
  3. A church staff member does not tithe.
  4. A deacon does not tithe.
  5. A pastor preaches a sermon about the people who don’t come to church.
  6. A church leader plans to be out of town during a revival or high attendance emphasis, even though he voted on the dates in business meeting.
  7. A church staff member thinks his only responsibility is his area of ministry.
  8. A deacon refuses to tell a pastor search committee the truth about his former pastor.
  9. A pastor makes fun of his family in a sermon illustration. Worse than wrong.
  10. A church member criticizes his pastor while visiting prospects for the church.
  11. A pastor preaches a sermon about the men who came to him to complain that he was not providing good leadership for the church.
  12. A state convention employee makes a decision about which invitation to accept based on the size of the church.
  13. A Sunday School teacher thinks her only job is to lead a Bible discussion.
  14. A pastor search committee thinks they have the responsibility to call a pastor to change what they don’t like about their church.
  15. A church allows the person who writes the checks to balance the checkbook.
  16. Church leaders assume the Great Commission is an option to be considered only when the church has sufficient finances.

Arkansas Baptist churches are good churches. But every church has blind spots. Are yours on this list?

Many Leaders

Today, I read Proverbs 28:2 in my morning reading. (I read, usually, the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the date, and I rotate translations to keep me from reading to deep of a rut in it.) What is Proverbs 28:2? Well, if the RefTagger is working, all you have to do is hover the link, it'll show. Here it is in ESV:

When a land transgresses, e it has many rulers,
but with a man of understanding and knowledge,
its stability will long continue. Proverbs 28:2 (ESV)

Here it is in NIV:
2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order. (Proverbs 28:2 NIV)

Dla przestępstwa ziemi wiele bywa książąt jej; ale dla człowieka roztropnego i umiejętnego trwałe bywa państwo (Proverbs 28:2, Gdansk Bible, from

I see the obvious implications here, for our nation, for the nations of the world, that many countries, including our own, do not have stable leadership. We are fractured under many rulers, many princes (NASB), many people to whom we claim allegiances, and our land is falling apart.

But that's not my point today. My point is, how might this apply into the Southern Baptist Convention? Yes, non-SBC readers, I'm on an SBC kick right now. We've got some issues in the house that need cleaned up, and for the handful that listen to me, I'll bring them up. Hopefully have some lighter fare tomorrow, like the return of Random Observations!

How many people claim to speak for Southern Baptists these days? We have voices crying out all over the Convention, many of which seem to be in disagreement.

I think we need to examine rather part of our problem is that we have princes in the first place. The SBC is supposed to be a bottom-up organization. Yet, we have various groups and individuals that want to direct what every church does. It's moving past being 'encouraged' to consider things to a point where we are truly developing a hierarchy as Southern Baptists.

That's not good. We're at a point that we're having to cut missions forces, because of budget issues, yet we're consistently hearing, not encouragement or challenges, but near beatings from nationally prominent SBC leaders that we're all failing, that our churches are useless, and so on.

It's really no wonder we're starting slip. We're being told that we're a failure as churches by this multitude of princes, and we're believing it.

Instead, we need to focus on the second half of that verse:
but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue. We need to focus on a man of understanding. We need to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.


May 28 2009

Proverbs 28:2 ->A sinful people has no clear leadership.

Proverbs 28:8 ->Not for the government. For individuals with a heart for the poor.

Proverbs 28:13 ->Forsake is a critical piece here.

Micah 7:18 ->God takes no pleasure in anger, but that doesn't mean He doesn't get angry.

1 Timothy 6:17 ->All things that we should enjoy come from God.

Quote: "The truly great general views reverses calmly and coolly; he is fully aware that they are bound to occur occasionally, and refuses to be unnerved by them." -J. Paul Getty

Thought: Expect & plan for things to not always go perfectly!
Moving toward the Horizon,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

For amusement

I subscribe to the feed from, where I saw this post the other day.  I've been wondering what to do with it, whether to use it to illustrate a point, or as a joke.  Then, I thought I'd just rip it off and post it here.  Hopefully Walter Olson feels he's getting appropriate credit, since he's a lawyer, and could sue the stuffing out of me if he wanted to.  Which, though, would counter him illustrating unnecessary lawsuits.

Subscribe to Overlawyered, or at least give them a look.  Between illustrating legal system abuses, Mr. Olson does a great job highlighting the overall bad situation that the CPISA law has made for small businesses.
Jonathan Lee Riches sues Guinness Book of World Records
Jonathan Lee Riches sues Guinness Book of World Records

by Walter Olson on May 24, 2009

The notoriously litigious inmate, also known as Irving Picard, has sued the records book for calling him the world’s most litigious guy; he also “objects to the names Guinness intends to call him”, including: “Johnny Sue-nami,” “Sue-per-man” and the “Patrick Ewing of suing.” He is currently an inmate at a federal facility in Kentucky. [Spokane Spokesman-Review, KOMO]

(and I thought the phone call about a blog project I started, claiming I was infringing someone's trademark, was highly annoying.  It was annoying enough that I gave up on that project, but this takes the cake.)

Convenient Culture

This past Monday was a holiday here in America. Officially, it was Memorial Day(Observed), as the traditional date for Memorial Day is May 30th, although I can't find a reason for that date. I might not be looking hard enough, although some accounts indicate it's a date that is not a battle anniversary, thus including all those who died in battle, instead of focusing on one day in particular.

Of course, we don't always observe Memorial Day on the 30th. In fact, we use the last Monday in May as Memorial Day. Why? In truth, I can't find a good reason for that. I know what happens, though. We take an important time for our nation and reduce it to a travel holiday, an extended weekend. A chance to get away, travel home on Monday, and have a shortened work week.

It's a part of our general American culture of convenience. Which is something that, I think, is kiling us slowly as a society. Everything we want, we want adjusted for our best interests. We want every road smooth, every store open 24-hours, every business to take our debit cards, and our cell phones to work every where we go, every time we grab them.

I'm not excluding myself here. I have a Blackberry, so I can always get my email, I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, have email, and, generally, use my debit card everywhere. I'd rather shop online than in a store, and fully intend to do as much of my graduate education from the convenience of my computer and office as I can.

But, we need to consider what we're losing with our culture of convenience. How many of us flew American flags Monday? Did you observe the tradition of flying them at half-staff until noon to honor the dead? Or was that too much trouble? Did you remember, if you did, to raise the flag to full, then lower it to half? Or was that inconvenient?

Were you aggravated that the bank was closed or the mail didn't run? Are you, like me, irritated that there was no garbage pickup, and so we have to wait until Thursday for the trash to go away from my house?

Does our addiction to convenience cause us to miss the point of days like Memorial Day? I don't think shifting it back to May 30, wherever in the week that falls, will help. Honestly. After all, we've lost the meaning of Christmas, and it's always December 25, so the days don't matter.

What matters is, are we willing to be a little put out to remember what matters? Are we willing to realize that our choices may require us to give up some convenience? We live in a free country, but to keep it free, there are some challenges to be had. Some of those are the sacrifice of lives, like those given by men and women since Lexington and Concord. Some of sacrifices are much easier, and hardly worthy of the word. Can you be inconvenienced enough to file your taxes, rather than having tax collectors come to your house? How about inconvenienced enough to sit on a jury, rather than having judges rule the land?

How about inconvenienced to have to prepare for your own retirement? Pay for your own education? Educate your own children? Yet many of us pass these things on to the government, so we don't have to do them. And what do we get? We trade freedom that was paid for in blood for convenience. We enslave ourselves economically, we put our government into overgrow mode just to pay for all of the programs we demand.

I think it's time to ask ourselves these questions. Are we demanding too much? I like good roads. Really. Especially since I drive a vehicle with over 175,000 miles on it, if the road's too rough, I can't get there. But how many 4-lane or more highways do we need? And do we need every road in America paved? There comes a point at which, perhaps, you as an individual need to decide, do I want to live on a paved road or an unpaved road? Want pavement? There's enough places to live with it. Otherwise, why keep taxing people to pave everything?

Same thing with businesses and services. We deliberately live where we can get high-speed internet and stable cell service. Part of the cost is that we live in town. If we wanted to live out of town, we'd have to accept possibly losing some of that. It's a choice. We choose to homeschool and choose to live on one income, both choices reduce our family's ability to do certain things, and, to be honest, can be really inconvenient sometimes. But these are the choices we make, and we are prepared to pay a price for them, whether in money or other things.

We as Americans are losing touch with reality, maybe already have, because reality is too inconvenient. We want our next musical hero, and right now! We don't want them to hone their skills, travel and play small crowds, get to know America from a second-hand bus, but rather for them to hit national TV and win it in 4 months. We want overnight sensations, we want instant success.

But it's costing us everything we have. For the conveniences our government gives us, we spend the first 4 to 5 months of the year working just to pay our taxes. Right now, businesses are afraid to expand with any profits they have because the government might decide to go back and raise their taxes to cover it. Banks are facing increased FDIC fees to cover failing banks, so a successful bank now has to pay for not collapsing. And you wonder why your savings account gets no interest?

Want to lose weight? Don't worry with adjusting your habits, take a pill. Or order food that someone else preps, plans, and delivers to you! Can't get your kid to behave? Give them a pill. Too sad? Too happy? Pills. Unsuccessful in love? Try a new body spray or perfume...never mind that the fact you're a self-absorbed, shallow person is really the problem, and maybe you need a little maturity.

Take the time to stop, and think about the cost of our conveniences. Especially to our own attitudes. Are we becoming to self-centered?

If the time came where our whole nation had to sacrifice, like 1776 or 1941, could we do it? Could we live with ration cards and plant victory gardens? If our lives and freedom were threatened? (aside: "Climate Change" is not threatening our lives, and only the reactions to it threaten our freedom. And when Al Gore goes to living a completely renewable lifestyle, when Greenpeace ditches their ships that burn fossil fuels, and all the rest of those people that claim to care actually live their lives based on it, I'll start to consider it. Otherwise, quit jetting around to your Earth Day nonsense.)

Will you stop, and allow some inconvenience in your life? Stop, and remember the sacrifices that guard your freedom?

Be inconvenienced to take the time to teach your children something. Anything. Don't pass it all off, be the one to teach your child a skill, a lesson, even if you have to learn it yourself.

Be inconvenienced to take the time and actually write a card, mail a note.

Be inconvenienced to spend time with someone who can profit you nothing.

Be inconvenienced to go ahead and read a whole book.

All of our lives cannot be lived sheerly for our own pleasures. It just can't work that way much longer. We, as Americans, have overcome wars, disasters, economic collapses. And we have finally found an enemy we might just lose to. Ourselves.


May 27 2009

Proverbs 27:2 ->Better to let others praise you then to be rebuked by them!

Proverbs 27:5 ->So should our churches also behave.

Micah 7:7 ->How do we watch? Expectantly or with pessimism?

Micah 7:8 -> I will rise. Not I might, not I should, I will.

1 Timothy 6:16 -> Yet, someday, we will be allowed to approach the unapproachable One!

Revelation 8:3-5 ->Prayers become judgment on the evil.

Quote: "No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you." -Althea Gibson

Thought #1: This is true. Even if you were raised by wolves---there's the person who left you for the wolves. And the wolves themselves.

Thought #2: You owe a debt of gratitude.

Thought #3: You never know who you're helping.

Prayer ->Lord God, help me be more positive toward your work today.

Moving toward the Horizon,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26 2009

Proverbs 26:13 ->And you think you're dealing with bad traffic!

Proverbs 26:27 ->Beware scheming! It will get you in the end.

Revelation 8:1 ->Breaking this seal reveals something so substantial that it stops the typically continual praise of God.

1 Timothy 6:14-15 ->Jesus will come back exactly when He should. ->Also, the only Sovereign, the only one Timothy needs to worry about fearing!

Quote: "What is strength without a double share of wisdom? Strength's not made to rule, but to subserve, where wisdom bears command." -John Milton

Thought #1: Seek the wisdom first!

Thought #2: Why do we make superstars of strength without wisdom?

Prayer: Lord God, today, let wisdom guide, but give me the strength to act.
Moving toward the Horizon,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24 2009

Proverbs 24:9 ->That should change the way we plan a lot of things.

Proverbs 24:32 ->Learn the lessons that are visible in others.

Hosea 6:6 ->When will we grasp this? Obedience, loyalty, heart, not checklist living!

1 Timothy 6:14 ->is Timothy be told to keep the commandment unstained? This reads as Paul charging Timothy not to mar the Gospel, or the calling to preach it, by his behavior. A charge we must take seriously as well and not harm the word by our actions!

Motivational quote: "I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty." -John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Thought #1: Um, Luke 12:48 anyone?

Thought #2: Somehow, we lose this idea when we're not "rich" enough, yet it is universal

Prayer: Lord God, without You, nothing has value, not even life. Let us celebrate the value You bring.
Moving toward the Horizon,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Another thought or two on the GCR in the SBC

I thought I'd sure a few more thoughts on the Great Commission Resurgence that's circulating through the SBC. For some of my previous thoughts, see here.

I want to point you to Charlie Warren's editorial in the Arkansas Baptist News. I can't get the permalink. Click on "Opinion" when you get to the website.

Now, having read both my opinion and Charlie's, I can understand where he's coming from. There has been enough bitterness and infighting in the SBC to poison a thousand wells, and a lot of it has gone on between people that are all, in truth, conservative, Bible preaching people. It's ridiculus. We fought for the Bible, then, apparently, fought over the people that didn't fight for the Bible as much as we expected.

I was barely born then. In fact, while the Conservative Resurgence was happening was one of the few times in my life I wasn't faithfully attending or being drug to a Southern Baptist Church. I was 3, we were in the Philippines with the US Air Force, and went to the Clark Air Base Chapel. So, to me, the Conservative Resurgence belongs in a Baptist History class. What I've grown up with is a group of people that, when in agreement, can passionately accomplish amazing things in obedeince to God. And when they disagree, well, I'd rather run from tornadoes (and yes, I have run from tornadoes. I've had one lift part of my roof.)

So, when something comes along that's a good idea, I'm for the idea. I think we need to make a fresh commitment as a Convention to be committed to the Great Commission. I think it has to start with churches, and with the real churches of the Convention. I'm glad, for example, that FBC Woodstock, and a handful of other churches, are more populated than the city I live in. But a Johnny Hunt proclamation carries very little weight with me. I guarantee it carries less weight than an Emil Turner suggestion. I am a committed follower of God's Word, and see that I should lead my church based on that.

Now, though, we're sliding towards the GCR being something that was Johnny Hunt's idea, and is signed by his backers, against another party in the convention.

And that's going to kill a good idea. First of all, I've said it in personal conversation, and even blogged near it recently. The fact that now somebody who other people listen to is now saying what many others have said doesn't mean we are his party, it means he's finally saying something useful.

However, I see why the previous generation in the SBC is concerned by this. The 'Battle for the Bible' did a lot of damage in places it shouldn't have. It made us into a group of people that fight all the time. I saw some of it with the 2000 BF&M. It was sad then, and this could be said now.

How to implement such a 'Great Commission Resurgence' needs careful consideration. Charlie Warren, for example, thinks merging mission boards is a bad idea. He's got his reasons. I think it's worth considering, but I don't know if it's a good idea or not.

It comes down to this: we need to refocus, from the individual Baptist, through the local church, and therefore the local church forces the SBC to go this way, back on God's Word, including the Great Commission, and that has to be the driving focus of all we do.

If somebody wants to hide a personal agenda behind that, I hope that they repent of it before God's discipline straightens them out. Because there is one agenda behind the Word: God is working in all around us to bring people to Himself, paid for at Calvary by His Son!


May 22 2009

Proverbs 22:2 ->Whoever you are, you are not greater than God. Nor too insignificant for Him.

Proverbs 22:7 ->Yep.

Proverbs 22:13 ->Any excuse works for some people.

Revelation 7:16 ->It does get better

1 Timothy 6:13 ->God is the source of all life. He is also our driving force in ministry. It's not about pleasing any other person.

Motivational quote: "He is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted, and he is still wiser who, from among the things that he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best." William E. Gladstone

Thought #1: The key is to find what you are fitted for, and that requires self knowledge and good counsel.

Thought #2: You have to balance this against doing what is needed. If you're the only one around, you can't claim "I'm not fitted to call the Fire Department, your house will just have to burn!"

Thought #3: Churches, be wiser!! We are not fit for many of the things we do.

Prayer: Lord God, today let us fix our eyes on Christ Jesus, and let us cast aside our energy wasters to do what You command!
Moving toward the Horizon,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 21 2009

Proverbs 21:3(NKJV) ->Which do we focus on?

Proverbs 21:27 ->God is not interested in your phony sacrifices. Your life will show better what you mean, what you are truly about.

Revelation 7:3 ->God knows His own.

Revelation 7:14 ->It's good to admit you don't know. Especially to heavenly messengers.

1 Timothy 6:12 -> Life of faith is not easy, otherwise there wouldn't be the direction to fight it.

Motivational Quote: "The applause of a single human being is of great consequence." -Samuel Johnson

Thought #1: Go find someone to applaud!!

Thought #2: If you seek the wrong person's applause, the consequences could be greatly dire!

Prayer: Lord God, let me not seek the applause of the world, but of You, and keep me from being bitter towards those who have the applause of the world.

Moving toward the Horizon,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I just came back from a quick "Run to the Border," where I needed to feed an urge for nachos and Mountain Dew (NOT the nasty Taco Bell exclusive Baja Blast). While I was walking over there, sitting and eating, and coming back, a few things happened that brought some thoughts to mind.

First, there was the point at which I placed my order. Now, in restaurant work, especially quick-service, everyone should be trained to do what is called suggestive selling. This is the system that breeds the ubiquitous question "Do you want fries with that?" This takes what a customer orders, and makes a suggestion connected to it. For example, someone who orders 3 tacos and 2 burritos should be suggested a drink. Or, perhaps a jar of Tums. But I digress. The point is to take what someone knows they want, and recommend an addition. This is what your server is doing every time they ask "Did you save room for dessert?"

The basic suggestive sell is a flat line, with no thought. It's pre-scripted, and usually highlights whatever is new or management imposed this week. It's asking if you want to value size your combo, pushing a special, whatever. It's not bad, but, if you want better results, you need to learn even better suggestive methods. For example, try to evaluate what the customer just bought, and suggest based on that. Did they buy a whole meal? Suggest an entree that combines many of what you are selling them. Did they buy a light snack? Suggest a different snack. I, for example, probably could have been sold a caramel apple empanada to go with my nachos. But I didn't see it on the menu, because I didn't look at the menu.

But, was I suggested one? No. Instead, the girl at the register took my order, took my money, then when my order popped up on the kitchen screen, the lady in the kitchen said "All you want is nachos?" My thought response: "Mainly. If I wanted more now, though, you'd be out of luck, I don't swipe my card twice in a fast-food joint." (not to mention that, if I had bought another low-cost item, taco bell would have been out another credit card fee, probably another 15-20 cents, which is a lot when you are dealing with $2 orders.)

What could they have done? Cashier/order-taker girl should have offered me something more. She knows I'm hungry, she saw I didn't even look at the menu, or she should have seen I didn't. She didn't catch, consider, connect, and complete what needed to happen. Is it her fault? Not likely. Training in fast-food typically involves a DVD player and a very bored new hire, mixed with a manager that's paying someone to watch a movie. Not a recipe for success.

(In contrast, I just downloaded a song off iTunes. What's in my cart, looking at me while I complete the purchase? Recommendations, based on what I'm buying. Do I buy? Not this time, but I consider. Due to radio issues, I live in a closed loop of music, so I pay close attention to these suggestions, and I'll probably buy next time.)

Before we beat up poor Taco Bell girl like a pinata, let's pull the lesson out of this. Many people in life are looking for things, especially emotional and spiritual connections. Are you catching that from them? Are you considering how to meet those needs? Connecting people to what they need? And completing the effort, making sure it was successful?

How about in your church? When people come to your church, do you have people ready to hit the 4 C's with them? All the way through complete? We tend to drop the first and last C in churches. We don't catch much, but when we do, we'll consider and connect, but do you complete? Do you vaguely point down the hall to a Sunday School room? Or walk the person down there, introduce them?

Catch it, Consider it, Connect it, Complete it. Not just a good idea in business, but a good idea in life.

Second, while I'm snacking on my nachos, two elderly ladies came in to the Taco Bell. (They might be offended with elderly, might not be, but I say they qualified.) They went to the counter, placed their order, and then filled their drink cups. They then made their way to a table. Meanwhile, the kitchen crew got their order ready. Cashier girl called out the order number. Then she, firmly placed behind the counter, called out "Ma'am, your order's ready!" She tried again. The guy standing at the counter called out the same thing. So did another employee behind the counter. The ladies were faced away from the counter, and couldn't hear anyone.

What was the solution? Well, it seems obvious to me. Does it seem obvious to you? The next customer in line had ordered. There were no other customers waiting. There were 5 employees behind the counter, no cars in the drive-thru, and no cleaning being done (not that some wasn't needed).

So, I got up from my nachos, had counter girl give me the tray, and carried it over to the ladies. They thanked me, I sat down, finished my nachos and walked back to work, pondering.

(Note: if Taco Bell has a "Don't leave the counter to help a customer policy," then it's a dumb policy. Especially since cashier girl and another employee were horsing around into the dining room after this. You can't claim she was told not to leave her spot. She wasn't in her spot when I came in, nor when I left.)

How often do we do this? There is a blatantly obvious solution, serve someone, help someone. But we'd rather yell after them. I'm convicted of this in our church. How much do we yell after people rather than go them and tell them? How often do we use our voices instaed of our legs?

How much do we try to make up for a lack of service by using extra words?


PS---Any QSR mangers in Monticello or SE Arkansas wanting to provide real training for your people, send me an email. We can put together something, and it will be worth the investing of our time and money.

PS #2: Direct applications abound. I want to leave them mostly up to you. But I would pass this on to Southern Baptist denominational leadership. Not that many of them would listen. And most of the ones that would aren't the ones that need to hear it.

May 20 2009

Proverbs 20:1 ->Wisdom is found in maintaining control of yourself

Proverbs 20:3 ->Drop it! There are senseless quarrels, and they do you no credit to start, continue, or even solve them.

Proverbs 20:10 ->Twisting your business practices is wrong. You can't have one standard for rich, another for poor, another for those you don't like, another for those you do.

Proverbs 20:10 ->Also, though, be an honest consumer. If you get more than you paid for, try to make it right.

Proverbs 20:18 ->When are and conflict are necessary, do so with much counsel and consideration.

1 Timothy 6:11 ->I must pursue these things, rather than earthly reward. Also note that gentleness does NOT equal weakness.

Motivational quote: "In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it." Norman Vincent Peale

Thought #1: He's right. We look for what we expect to find, and often find it. Do you look for God to work in your life? Do you look for God to do amazing things at church?

Thought #2: Notice: not every situation is easy, not every situation is good. But all have potential value.

Prayer: Lord God, let us expect to find You today.
Moving toward the Horizon,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cubes, puzzles, and what-not

Long, long ago, I was a senior in high school. And, one of my classes was a lovely 2-hour block called AP Chemistry. Which was a great class. It had, essentially, a room full of nerds, a few non-nerds, and some wannabe nerds, in one classroom for 2 hours. Occasionally, it had this group of people in a chemistry lab for 2 hours. Which was borderline scary. This was the group of people smart enough to be concerned when the chemistry teacher let us know that someone had stolen the jar with the 1-pound block of sodium in it. We didn't think it was cool, we knew it was dangerous for someone not among the nerdy to be roaming about with a chemical that would catch fire if it contacted water.

Trouble came to AP Chemistry when our teacher had a heart attack, or needed heart surgery, or something like that. It's one thing for a substitute teacher to hold kids down for 50-minutes. It's a whole different story to hold them back for 100 minutes. Especially when they are bright, energetic, almost as smart as some of the subs, and bored out of their ever-lovin' minds. Seriously. Since Mr. Wood was out for an indefinite period of time, the district didn't get a long-term, certified sub. They just got a daily sub to cover the class. They even found one that could get the basic Chemistry classes doing some learning. But they never really found anyone that could hang with the AP crowd. Why? Well, for one, we were the first AP Chem class Jacksonville High had had in a long time, and there weren't really lesson plans, aside from the ones at Mr. Wood's house. Mix in high school students who were essentially trying to do their first semester of college while in high school, as well as sort out all the personal life issues that seem important in high school, and play football, be in the band, cheerlead, act, work, do scholarship apps, college apps, and, well, just basically fill up the days with lots of stuff, and the stress/insanity meter was just maxed with no teacher and no answers.

Enter the Rubik's Cube, that lovely mind-blowing challenge of the 1980s. Yes, to the first Gameboy Generation, an analog puzzle came to school. One of the guys in class had learned how to do one, and brought it one day, as something to keep him busy in class. What followed was a 2 or 3 day course in solving the Cube.

I got good enough that I could solve a Rubik's Cube in a little under 3 minutes. Certainly not world record, but, I'm a preacher, so I learned to do the Cube as I talked through various lessons that I thought it illustrated well. And I've done it many times over the years.

Just not recent years. Much like my grasp of French, skills with Greek, and saxophone playing, I've not invested the time to hold my skill level up with the Rubik's Cube. Which is, truthfully, kind of sad. It's fun to do, it's a great crowd/attention getter, but now I can't really do it.

How does this matter? Am I just whining about things I can't do anymore? No, this has a point. We all have skills of various sorts and types. If we use those skills, improve those skills, we'll keep them. If not, they'll fade away.

Which leads to this question: What has God allowed you to learn, that you're neglecting? Are there skills He has given you the opportunity to develop that you've discarded? What will you do about it?

We shouldn't allow skills that are useful for the Kingdom to fade away without a thought.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are skills that, I think, we develop for a season in life, and then we move on. I have serious doubts that marching band skills are that crucial anymore for me, but the sound tech skills are still needed. I'm alright without the high-end calculus, although derivatives are still helpful, so some things are there for a time, and then you let them go. I don't have to work a fast-food drive-thru anymore, but I still have to interact with people.

So, consider the skills you've been given. Use them, hold on to them, until God says to let them go. Take the lessons and move forward. Especially if God is calling you, as He did Abram, to leave the life you've known behind. It's sometimes the evidence of faith to pack away the tools, to sell the store, to resign the job and go forward in trust.

The balance comes in prayerfully seeking the answer this question: What are you trusting in? Are you trusting God or your abilities? Is He at work in the skills He's given, or are you telling Him how He has to work in you?

I'm going to leave you with a question, because, if you're a believer in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit in you, and hopefully have a Bible, and have to answer this for you, and I can't.

How do think of yourself? That God has blessed you with skills? Or that God is blessed to have you?


May 19 2009

Proverbs 19:20 ->We should always be listening, not setting out to learn everything ourselves in our own way.

Proverbs 19:21 ->One set of plans will endure. Which would you choose?

Micah 5:4 ->The Lord God is not promising just to shepherd Israel but the whole world.

Revelation 7:3 ->God withholds the next phase of judgment until all believers are identified:to themselves, the angels, each other, and the world under judgment...

1 Timothy 6:10 ->Yet Christ was already pierced for us. We should not go out and pierce ourselves. It's pointless.

Motivational quote: "There is no such thing as a 'self-made' man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the makeup of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success."- George Adams

Thought #1:
All of us are made by God, who uses the world around us to shape us into what He intends us to be.

Thought #2: Want to be a part of other people's success? ENCOURAGE!

Prayer: Lord God, help us see how every day matters in our service to You.
Moving toward the Horizon,

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18 2009

Proverbs 18:1 ->Lord God, help me not isolate myself!!

Proverbs 18:4 ->You don't harm wisdom or diminish wisdom by acquiring as much as you can!

Proverbs 18:17 ->Hear both sides! This cannot be overstated!! Jumping to conclusions is not so good...

Micah 4:5 ->Context shows that the Lord is the One True God, that all may walk in their own way, but salvation comes only from the One!

1 Timothy 6:9 ->Seeking wealth cannot be our goal. Seeking godliness must be. Wealth is not intrinsically evil, but the desire for it is, and the longing can cause us to fall into much sin.

Motivational quote: "We treat our people like royalty. If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you." -Mary Kay Ash

Thought #1: People will see straight through you if you do this for them to serve you. You have to have a mostly clear motivation, a genuine heart of service.

Thought #2: This must be done, not lip-serviced. If you would serve people, you have to find out what they count as service.

Prayer: Lord God, give me strength today to serve you. Show me where to strengthen my steps in obedience.

Moving toward the Horizon,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: The American Patriot's Bible

My next book review opportunity for Thomas Nelson Publishers is The American Patriot's Bible. I received this book free through the Book Review Bloggers program, at

So, what about The American Patriot's Bible? Well, what you have a is a hardcover New King James Version Bible. The added content involves brief episodes and quotes from American history, primarily from the Colonial Period through the establishment of the Constitution. There are also other quotes from American leaders, especially Presidents, and the publication is fresh enough to include President Obama.

How you might enjoy this Bible depends on your expectations. If you are looking for a study Bible, that gives you verse-by-verse insights, this is not the Bible for you. While each book does have an introductory page featuring authorship, dating, and theme information, these pages do not have a discussion of authorship, dating, and theme. For the Pentateuch, as an example, Moses is given as the author, with "around 1400 B.C.' as the dating. For the record, I think they're right with this information, but this is a debatable issue in Biblical studies. Also, a few verses have notes on them, but these are fairly sparse. Typically, these notes are found with verses that have been cited by prominent people in American history.

If you want a glimpse into the impact of the Holy Bible on the founding of America, this Bible is for you. There are a dozen full-color sections highlighting various times in American History, usually with a brief essay and then specific quotes from people like John Adams, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan. These are very insightful, as are the notes in the text regarding where various Presidents have had the Bible open during their inauguration (some Presidents picked specific passages, some had a closed Bible).

Overall, the text is easy to read, the binding feels sturdy, and the family info section in the front makes a good argument for using this as a family record Bible.

The drawback to this printing of the Bible, to me, is the juxtaposition of the Sacred Word of God with scenes from American History. To be honest, I'm a little uncomfortable with it. I'm not against study Bibles that illuminate the text, but to me, this Bible seems more about America than it does about the text of Scripture. I understand what they're trying to do in showing how the Founding Fathers of our country, and some of our greatest leaders since then, were convinced of the necessity of Scripture for American life. I think the information is good, although one might find that the quotes are cherry-picked, giving only the better side of our Founding Fathers. I would prefer this information in a separate book from the Word of God itself.

A further concern to me is that, given our country's current political situation, a Bible pointing out that we are a Christian nation, or at least once were, coming out so close to our President declaring that we are not a Christian nation, might be getting a little close to playing politics with God's Word. I know we stand for truth, but I don't think we should be mixing Truth with even so prominent a man as George Washington. Preachers should stick with the Bible, there's enough in the plain text to show the errors of our ways as a nation.

Also, from a practical perspective, you can't really use this Bible in missions work, can you?

I give it 3 stars. It's a well put together book. And some people may really like it. But it's not really for me.


Tomorrow's Randoms Today

Ok, I've got a powerpoint project I need to be doing for church, but my laptop and MS Office aren't on speaking terms. So, I'll blog now, and tomorrow use the desktop at home to wrap up the project.

Randoms for this week:

1. I haven't blogged all week, basically. Why? Who knows? It's just been a week that I haven't felt like it, and since I do have real work to do, I've tried to focus on that. But, I've got some things to do, like a book review I warned you about last week.

2. I think I've found more evidence that God is southern, as Lewis Grizzard often claimed. First of all, there's the accent issue. But, I found more! In my Bible listening, I heard this verse: 13 And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the Lord with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. [3]

Lev 23:13 (ESV)

Now, when you mix flour with oil, you make: GRAVY!!!! So, the grain offering was to be made into gravy?

3. For the record, normal is just a setting on my cell-phone.

4. I have a variety of issues in my life, like allergies and asthma (for which I have consistently been turned down for medical insurance). I've found the culprit for that and for my inability to lose weight. It's a chemical problem. I've realized that the fault lies with oxygen. No, not the TV network, the chemical, typically found in gaseous form, bonded together with itself. Selfish little atom, it really prefers just to hang out with itself. If it weren't for oxygen, I wouldn't have any of the medical issues I have. Bad stuff.

5. I think I'll smack the first person that complains that we need rain, at least through July. By August, I'll understand.

6. I cleaned up my office this week. Next week, I'll clutter it into chaos again. It's a fun cycle.

7. I've got global disaster burnout. Right now, earthquakes, tornadoes, pandemic flus, and all the rest just don't bug me. It's not even a "God's in control, it'll be alright" feeling. It's more like, yeah, whatever...

8. Same thing with the impending collapse of the US Government. I'm not sure we can fix it anymore. We're borrowing 46% of our spending. Do you know how many credit cards I'd need for that? Eeesh...

9. I think E.L. Kersten is an optimist.

10. I wish TBS still showed Braves games. I know it's not the same ownership group anymore, but please. That's part of what built your galactic network!

11. On the same note: I don't get how 'TVLand,' a network built off taking the old reruns that Nickolodeon used to run at night after kid's bedtimes, needs original programming! Seriously. And, by the way, CMT, VH1, MTV, what happened to the music? SciFi, a few new shows, ok, but rerun some classic shows, that's where you got started. Same with Cartoon Network. And is it odd to anyone else that Cartoon Network now runs kids cartoons, while Nickolodeon doesn't run as many?

12. And on the TV thing: CNN Headline News used to run the same thing every 30 minutes, with the headlines updating as the day went through. That's a lot better than Nancy Grace. ESPNews was like a rolling Sportscenter, and that was good. Why do you people have to mess with good programming? Was there really a national outcry for more Bowling?

That's all for this week...


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12 2009

Sorry for the lag in publishing.

First things today: Read the quoted article in this link at Triablogue. Then, later, if your brain really wants to hash out some of the great issues of life, go back and read other posts there.

Motivational Quote: "It is characteristic of genius to be hopeful and aspiring" -Harriet Martineau

Thought #1: Tell that to the people at

Thought #2: I think we're missing an indefinite article. Some geniuses are brooding and melancholy, because they see and expect human nature. And human nature is informed by a state of total depravity.

Proverbs 12:4 ->Yet men will seek out wives based on pure earthly standards, and we perpetuate that method in the church.

Proverbs 12:10 ->Wicked people do what they think is compassionate, yet it can, in reality, be cruelty. It's not wicked to question actions, whatever the motivation.

Proverbs 12:15 ->Seek guidance. It is foolish to think that you are the only right person in the world. There might not be many, but there's another one somewhere.

Proverbs 12:25 ->And just recently, doctors have acknowledged that stress kills your heart. Maybe they should have read this verse.

1 Timothy 5:23 ->Do not fail to do what is Biblically acceptable and best for you simply because of the criticism of others or an expansion of Biblical command beyond its scope.

1 Timothy 5:24 ->Sometimes we don't know the sins of others, but they will come out. Same is true of us.

Prayer: Lord God, stay my heart in You today.

Moving toward the Horizon,

Saturday, May 9, 2009


This week's random thoughts:

1. It's probably better that an anti-God President skipped the National Day of Prayer. After all, since he's all for child sacrifice, and God called Molech 'the detestable god of the Ammonites' over the child sacrifice issue, would we want someone praying to a detestable god? Didn't think so...

2. That one was heavy. To lighten up: If you hope to receive a pessimism award, are you automatically disqualified? Or should you give up on it?

3. How is it McDonald's can make great fries, but lousy burgers? Can you not have the same quality requirements for cows as potatoes?

4. You shouldn't leave your weather radio off when storms are predicted...

5. Who had the bright idea to create iced coffee? And then apply the idea into the 'Frosty-cino' at Wendy's? Because that thing is hideous.

6. Check out a great 'Mom Job Description' here at Herding Grasshoppers!

7. Everyday Mommy's doing a giveaway at her blog, because she's generous. Take a look around her blog, there's some very good stuff.

8. I want one of these. Actually, I want 2. One for home, one for the office. Coffee on demand! It's like a morphine pump, but without the pesky need for IV hookups, doctor's prescriptions, or any regulations at all!

9. I did Famous Dave's Restaurants a disservice when I was in Kansas. I said Dave wasn't famous in Arkansas. Well, Dave's got a BBQ joint in Little Rock. Ribs aren't as good as some others, but everything else is well worthy of Dave getting Famous!

10. Ever buy anything from If not, you should check them out. They just had their infamous 'Blackout' sale, but they run good promotions at least every other month. Defend yourself from unnecessary optimism or ridiculous motivational slogans!

11. Got to say something about swine flu. I don't have it. In fact, swine flu has killed fewer people since the beginning of the year than lightning strikes (based on approximate data for both). And the regular flu has definitely killed more.

12. If I weren't paranoid about putting it in print, I'd give you my paranoid conspiracy theory about infectious diseases and the US over the past 30 years or so. But they're watching me....

13. No, I didn't go see Star Trek. I want to see Star Trek. I will see Star Trek, Transformers, and several other movies, probably when they hit the Redbox here in town. I think it's a little irresponsible for me to blow $17 to see a movie when I have debt to get out of and bills to pay. So, I'll get to see them on Monday nights, with my free Redbox movie code! (And I can pause it if I need to go the bathroom. And eat popcorn that's freshly popped, with the perfect amount of butter and salt. And drink Caffeine-free Coke, while Ann has her Diet A&W, and not have to hire a babysitter, not have to worry about something happening and having to leave a movie I've paid a lot to see, and...well, you get the idea.)

14. My wife and I have 'date night' on Friday nights. What that entails for us is to put the kids to bed, then we cook supper just for us, play games, watch a movie, do a project, something that is just focused adult interaction time. We'd like to go out, but, first of all, we're in Monticello, so there's not a whole lot to go do, and second, we don't have budget enough to pay babysitters and go do stuff. Those of you who live close enough to family to get them to do it, count yourself blessed. Last night was date night. Steven wanted to have date night, I told him he needed a 'wife' and he said to find him one, so I said I would. Later he comes to me in tears, asking for his wife. Oops. Dad overpromised that time. I'll find him one eventually, but he's only TWO!

15. One of our cats has taken to trying to escape every time we open the door. Last Saturday, right as the first round of storms (the one with 9 inches of rain, not the EF-1 Tornado), Smokey decided to sprint out of the house. We had just gotten in from Little Rock, where we had driven through the storm line into town, through the storm line coming home, so we knew what was coming. I couldn't leave her out in the rain (mainly because she got out past Angie, and I knew it would devestate her for the cat to be in the rain), so we're trying to herd the cat back inside. I'm chasing her, almost have her, trip in the ditch, roll my ankle, twist my wrist, and land on the cat. The cat claws out from under me, literally, I can't grip her because my left hand is trapped and my right hand is the one I just hurt, so she gets away. Fortunately, she's now scared of being fallen on my an overweight monster that she runs inside. It's been a week. My wrist still hurts, but it's getting better. Stupid cat.

That's this week's random rundown.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8 2009

Motivational quote: "You need to plan the way a fire department plans: it cannot anticipate where the next fire will be, so it has to shape an energetic and efficient team that is capable of responding to the unanticipated as well as to any ordinary event." --Andrew S. Grove

Thought #1: And you should use time between events for training and preparation---not use your fire department to mow lawns like some cities have done. Keep your people trained and focused on what they are intended for.

Thought #2: The other thing a fire department spends their time on is prevention training. For churches, we should find a way to be constantly involved with prevention training and preparation training. Prevention training as outreach, where we engage with the non-churched world, and preparation training, where we strengthen our church folks. Prevention is sometimes mundane, but sometimes big, preparation is the same.

Moving toward the Horizon,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Good things in the SBC

Okay, the past few posts I've taken a shot or two at some things in the Southern Baptist Convention that I think could use changing. To be fair, though, I'm a lifelong Southern Baptist, and, further, I think I should share some great things we have as Southern Baptists:

1. Local Church Autonomy: We here at Calvary Baptist can vote tomorrow to paint the building in pink camo, and the SBC has no say. We can choose our worship style, our leadership, set our budget. All that's really required of a participating church is to give $1 a year to the SBC. (I don't count doctrinal agreement as required. See #2)

2. Doctrinal agreement: We have a fairly short, extremely straightforward doctrinal statement. It is specific where it needs to be (Basic Trinitarian Concepts, Atonement, Divinity of Christ) and generic where it needs to be (Election/Predestination, Spiritual Gifts). It allows churches to develop their own character, but makes clear what beliefs we associate with in the SBC. Why join if you disagree?

3. Stable mission funding: although we don't do this with all of our North American Missionaries (and I think we should), Southern Baptist Churches provide a fairly stable support platform for our missionaries. We don't have people in foreign lands that have to keep evacuation ticket money available just in case, or that have to decide between buying Bibles for their ministries and having food, or at least we shouldn't, with the structures of the Cooperative Program.

4. Independent state bodies: Each state/regional convention is its own entity, responsible only to the churches in the area it serves. We here in Arkansas are served by the ABSC, and they answer to the statewide convention. If it becomes necessary, our state can tell another state to leave us alone. Which allows Arkansas churches to guide ministries in Arkansas, allowing people who live in the culture to evangelize it, rather than having New Yorkers tell Arkansans what to do. Or vice versa.

5. We don't have an official, mandated Bible translation. Sure, we've got the Holman Christian Standard Bible, but you don't have to use it. It's just since Lifeway holds that copyright, they can reprint it in the literature without cost. And it's not a bad translation, but if you prefer NASB, ESV, or KJV, you can use it.

5b. We're not a King James Only Group. Although we have some churches that are, both officially and unofficially. And that's okay. See #1 & #2.

6. We have available theological education, but a church is free to call a pastor, ordain a minister, with or without it. And, we have theological education for those of us who are distant from official seminaries but still recognize our need to learn.

6b. Our state, at least, provides some wonderful practical training, funded through the state's portion of the Cooperative Program. Which is really great, since there's days we all need a little help.

7. We can ignore our denominational hierarchy if we want to. One of my deacons commented about some paperwork about how big our church is, where our members live, that we would 'have to fill out and return.' And the truth is, we don't. One blessing in Arkansas is our state folks don't think we have to either. They willingly offer, but they never force a church to do anything.

8. Musical diversity: Each church selects and functions with its own musical style.

9. Missionary heritage: even though we've only been around since 1845, some of the best missionary stories come from Southern Baptists.

10. Missionary force: Anybody else have over 11,000 missionaries, 40,000 preachers, plus vocational evangelists, associate ministers, musical talents, and volunteers, all the while teaching people that they are eternally secure in Christ, and only serve Him as a response to His love?

There's 10 reasons. I could say more. I'm a graduate of an Arkansas Baptist college, I attended a seminary run by Southern Baptists, I've preached in 5 states and 1 country (out of the US) for SBC churches. If not for the SBC, I wouldn't be where I am today.

So, will I blog out some things that I think should change? Certainly. But I'm far, very far, from leaving the SBC. Our underpinnings are sound, our ideals Biblically driven. Are some of the side issues in need of repair? Maybe so. But down in, our foundation is solid.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why I signed the Great Commission Resurgence Document

We've managed to stir up another mess in the SBC.


Well, since we've gotten so off-track with all the other messes we have in the SBC, our current national leadership, such as Johnny Hunt and some of the seminary presidents, like Danny Akin, wrote up a 10 statement article called the "Great Commission Resurgence." You can click the link and read it.

Now, I attached my digital "Doug Hibbard" to this statement, you can find me under the "H" header. I signed this because I agree with the points that are stated in it. Let's look at a few of them:

V. A Commitment to a Healthy Confessional Center. We call upon all Southern Baptists to look to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a sufficient guide for building a theological consensus for partnership in the gospel, refusing to be sidetracked by theological agendas that distract us from our Lord’s Commission.

Why did I agree with this? Because we have been sidetracked before over adding things to the BF&M, and then expecting people not only to take the BF&M, but the add-ons. I think that we as Southern Baptists should be willing to work together with people that agree with our current doctrinal statement, whether they pray in tongues or not, whether they take a total abstinence view of alcohol or not, or how they interpret 'husband of one wife.' As I lead the church I pastor, I should be ok with accepting another SBC church, even if their view on these additional issues differs from mine. If we have one 'official' doctrinal statement, it should cover every issue we need to be in agreement on.

Is this exactly what the authors intended? I don't know. I'm not a fanatical listener to Danny Akin's preaching, and I'll be honest, I wasn't thrilled when Johnny Hunt was elected President of the SBC. I think we need leadership that actually understands what's going on in churches like most churches in the SBC, that run under 200. I doubt that Dr. Hunt has any idea anymore what it's like in a normal Southern Baptist church, and most seminary presidents don't see the inside of a small church, and the trustees they deal with come from bigger churches as well. So, they may be thinking of pushing other things forward, but on its face, this statement says: we agreed to the BF&M in 2000, so that's enough.

VIII. A Commitment to a Methodological Diversity that is Biblically Informed. We call upon all Southern Baptists to consider themselves and their churches to be missionaries in non-Christian cultures, each of which requires unique strategies and emphases if the gospel is to penetrate and saturate every community in North America.

This is just a good statement: it's time we realize that American culture is non-Christian too. We don't have the advantages we used to, and we need to think that way. Of course, when I see that, and think of considering ourselves as missionaries in a non-Christian culture, I think of how, in many ways, on the mission field, a lot of things that we fight about just aren't worth it. I saw this as a statement reinforcing that we need to stop splitting some of the hairs we're killing ourselves over. Does it really matter if God acts to save only the elect through hearing the Gospel, or if the elect are only the elect because God knew they would respond, or whatever (please don't give me those links. I've read them.) We are called to obediently, passionately, and with full commitment, to preach the Gospel to ALL people, ALL nations. We can let God sort out exactly how He does the saving, can't we? I can effort together with Calvinist, non-Calvinist, cessationist, non-cessationist, if what we're doing is proclaiming that Christ died for your sins, according to the Scripture, he was buried, and rose up from the grave on the third day, according to the Scriptures. (that sounds familiar, who wrote that?)

IX. A Commitment to a More Effective Convention Structure. We call upon all Southern Baptists to rethink our Convention structure and priorities so that we can maximize our energy and resources for the health of our local churches and the fulfilling of the Great Commission.

I think this is the one a lot of people have trouble with, partly because they've heard more of Danny Akin than I have, and have heard him state that some State Conventions are bloated with bureaucracy, and so they see this as leveled at their state. That may be his intent, and if it is, I'd remind him that the national level of the SBC should do a quick plank-check before speck-checking each state.

I see something different here. I see a statement that sacred cows have no place except at a cookout! There are things that we expend resources on, especially at the national level, that are not focused on the Great Commission, and those need to go. I expressed some of that in another entry on this blog. First of all, states are in a much better position to understand the needs of the churches within a state for training and help. Arkansas does a marvelous job of this, that our state convention staff is committed to the idea that they have offices in Little Rock, and headquarters in every church in the state. I've emailed a question to our state, and had people offer to drive 3 hours to help me address it. Unfortunately, not every state is as blessed as we are in Arkansas. That's for each state to address. But I signed on to the idea that this statement is encouraging each, independent, autonomous part of our denomination to consider where the money goes and what it goes to do. Then, we will trust each one to do what God directs. I'll voice my opinion here in Arkansas, in Louisville for the nation, and I'll trust you to do the same in your area.

That's a quick hash through this. I saw this more as a statement of "Let's consider, are we doing this?" Not a blanket, nobody cares, nobody does this anymore, whiny attack. Maybe if I knew the people behind it better, I'd have taken it that way, but I don't know them. For now, I'll take the statements at face value, and see what happens. I do have some reservations, though:

The first is that we'll start to fight over who signed, who didn't sign, why this person did or did not. Which we already have, so that what might have been a good idea is now looking like just another fight among the brethren. Looking back, I remember the same thing in 2000 with the BF&M rewrite. Perhaps this is going the same way, except now it will be phrased as 'this person doesn't support the Great Commission' when it is really 'this person doesn't see the need to re-emphasize what they are already giving their life to.'

The second is that this will turn into a witch-hunt or another 'sign or be fired' situation, and it will be the death of the Southern Baptist Convention if it does. Really. Because younger leaders, younger wannabe leaders (like me) will be tired of the infighting and insanity, and will instead find people to work with that want to accomplish the Great Commission. And older leaders will throw in the towel too, and lead their churches elsewhere. So, Dr. Hunt and Dr. Akin, don't push this thing. Really, don't. This cannot be a litmus test for fidelity. We did enough damage to our work by forcing career missionaries, with lifetimes of service, to sign a new doctrinal statement or be fired. And don't hang that solely on Dr. Rankin. He responded to pressure placed on him from within the powers-that-be within the SBC.

The third is that people will sign it just to go along with a movement. Or refuse to sign it just to be against a movement. I saw this as a personal commitment to consider my ways, my leadership of the church I pastor, and to examine as a participant in an association, a state, and the SBC, whether we're doing this as a whole. I signed on to do my part, not to give anyone any form of leverage against another human being.

That being said, if it turns into that type of thing, especially another instance of semi-creedalism (we're not creedal, but we sure will favor one person over another based on what they've signed or not signed) I will email the GCR website and ask my name to be taken off, and will post on this blog that I no longer find myself in agreement with it.

Until then, I remain in favor of the words and wording, based on their face value meaning, and not based on anything else.


May 6 2009

Motivational quote: "Why not be oneself? That is the whole secret of a successful appearance. If one is a greyhound, why try to look like a Pekingese?"--Edith Sitwell

Thought #1: Except that, as you are, you are totally depraved, and unable to do anything worthy of the God who created you. So, you know, fix that and then be who He created you to be.

Thought #2: How does one jive this with people who don't act like who they are? Like men that don't want to be men?

Proverbs 6:15 ->The wicked get sudden destruction, not warning after warning.

1 Samuel 25:10 ->Don't answer kindness with rudeness.

1 Timothy 5:18 ->Paul refers to Luke as 'Scripture.'

1 Timothy 5:18 ->Churches have a responsibility to meet the needs of those who serve and to do so adequately.

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for your protection in storms. I pray you will protect those who are in danger from them now.

Moving toward the Horizon,

Church Administration

Ben Stroup tweeted a question yesterday about what one church admin responsibility would you drop.

My response was Sunday School attendance taking.

Since he works for Lifeway, he was rightly dismayed by my answer.

Now, I'm not against taking attendance for Sunday School. What I'd do away with is the multiple redundancy system that we use here. However, I'll roll with the wider question:

What good does taking attendance in Sunday School do?

Really. If you don't know that someone isn't there only if they aren't on the roll sheet, then you have failed the relationship purpose of Sunday School. Either your class is too big or your eyes are too small.

What about visitors? What about them? You can't get a person to go one-on-one and get their name and information?

What about recording the attendance? What about it? Any SBC church going to cancel Sunday School because attendance is down? Or do we use the numbers either to create an artificial target or perpetuate criticism?

So, we'll keep counting around here, taking attendance, turning in attendance, counting it, re-adding it, re-checking it Monday morning, then calling in a panic when the Monday add-up doesn't match the Sunday add-up, all over either latecomers or bad math. Meanwhile, we'll keep 2 people out of Bible study on Sunday morning to facilitate the numbers, interrupt classes to get attendance sheets, and use resources to print, reprint, and store years of Sunday School records.

Seriously, folks, are we sure we need this?


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May 5 2009

Motivational Quote: "Happiness, happiness...the flavor is with you--with you alone, and you can make it as intoxicating as you please." --Joseph Conrad

Thought #1: Happiness can be affected by outside circumstances, but also our own mentality towards it.

Thought #2: The horror...the horror...I actually think Conrad was one of my favorite authors in Lit classes.

Proverbs 5:1 ->Wisdom can be acquired by listening to others, by learning from others.

Proverbs 5:15 ->Maintain your fidelity: this is evidence of wisdom and honor.

1 Samuel 25:3 ->Intelligence is of first importance.

1 Samuel 25:33 ->Discernment is useless without actions.

Micah 8:11 ->Do we want prophets with the word of the Lord? Or do we want prosperity on this earth?

1 Timothy 5:17 ->Preaching really is work. Also, those who lead the church should receive honor, not disdain (look back 2 chapters, see who should be leading the church. Disqualified individuals should not be leading)

1 Timothy 5:2 ->Ministers should view the women of their congregation as their own family: Protect, defend, view with purity!

Prayer: Lord God, give me strength today for following You.
Moving toward the Horizon,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Re-imagining the SBC

I was recently able to go on a 'Vision Tour' with the Kansas-Nebraska State Convention and the Kansas City Kansas and Kaw Valley Associations. While we were visiting various mission sites, one of the missionaries we were talking with said something that struck a chord in my mind.

His name is Daniel Goombi, and he's a NAMB MSC Missionary, working with the Native American Nations in Kansas and Nebraska. He said that his work is effectively international missions, because the Nations have separate languages, cultures, and laws that govern life. Even though they are within the US, there is a major difference, and a level of autonomy within the boundaries of a Native American Nation that make it separate from our own.

This got me thinking: Why do we, as Southern Baptists, have a North American Mission Board and an International Mission Board? What purpose do the dual mission agencies serve?

Looking back, the existence of dual mission agencies makes sense in the past. Also, the some of the groups that were absorbed into NAMB back in the 1990s, like the Brotherhood Commission, the Radio and Television Commission, had purposes, and I understand their difference from the IMB.

What I wonder now is, are we running two mission agencies when we don't need them? North American Missions, in truth, can be as cross-cultural as International Missions. Don't think so? Haul a group of students from Arkansas to Maryland and see if you're right. Take white folks to a Native American Reservation, African-Americans to the rural south, Asians to many inner cities. Mix rural with urban, suburban with country, east with west, south with north.

What would we gain from this? First, we could reduce redundancies in adminstration. Rather than having 2 separate mission boards, including the large number of trustees necessary to make it happen, you go down to one. Will you still need as many support personnel? Probably so. After all, we would hope to see an increase in missionaries everywhere by this process. But, rather than transport, house, feed, inform two trustee boards would provide some savings, even if the one agency had a slightly larger board. Also, there would be the cost savings of only operating one headquarters (I think some legitimate questions exist about the locations of both of our mission agency headquarters...Richmond and Atlanta are not exactly the lowest cost areas for corporate real estate or cost of living. Neither are they centrally located. I don't have the exact numbers, but I also doubt that Richmond Airport is that much cheaper or more direct than other international airports, such as Memphis, Kansas City, or St. Louis might be.) The one-time income of selling one of these corporate centers could be used to defray relocation costs for workers that make the move.

Second, we could provide a better focus in missions education. Rather than having to conglomerate multiple sources to create missions education in our churches, we would have one source to go to.

Third, we could streamline special missions giving. There are some SBC churches that already only take one missions offering every year, and then divide it up between the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. A unified missions agency would make that a simple reality for all churches. Then, funds could be allocated strictly on the basis of need, rather than ever dealing with the unthinkable problem of some missionaries being underfunded while another agency is flush (not that we generally have that issue).

Finally, this could help some of our missionaries in the field. How? First, there are missionaries in the boomer generation who are having to leave the field to care for aging parents. This is a legitimate decision for them to make, but just because they can't care for their parents from an international location doesn't mean they couldn't from a location in North America. Take experienced, cross-cultural missionaries, and provide them the opportunity to continue their service in a cross-cultural need in America. Especially when one considers the vast ethnic diversity in America, that many nations of the world that we have missionaries serving have populations in America that are equally unreached. Second, there are those who desire to serve as missionaries, but have health issues that prevent international relocation. These individuals could serve in the US. Unfortunately, by the time they have been far enough in one agency's process to hit that wall, it's very frustrating to start over with another agency. Third, there is a streamlined recruiting process. The IMB has Candidate Consultants, Associate Candidate Consultants, and more. NAMB has their own recruiters. We could utilize one group of recruiters, rather than face competing tables in the halls of our seminaries, with NAMB and IMB folks clamoring for people's attention. Finally, there may be some that are, for a variety of non-medical reasons, unable to live and work outside of the US. They may be former government employees whose backgrounds prohibit, they may be folks that have been saved from a lifestyle that carries baggage, or they may have family issue that keep them from going overseas (for example, family in government service).

What would be the drawbacks?

Some would find a loss of buying power as a drawback. For example, in accordance with National Evangelism Initiatives, NAMB has, in the past, bought media time on behalf of all Southern Baptists. There are a few possibilities here. One is to have Lifeway handle that function. (There's the fringe benefit of not having Lifeway and NAMB competing with each other to sell evangelism materials!) Another is for state conventions to partner to make those purchases. First of all, since America is not a monolithic culture, one mass media buy is probably a very inefficient method to spread the Gospel (even the Mormons don't try to share their religion, they try and get contact info, and they don't advertise near as much as they used to). Second, what networks should we advertise on? Should we support CBS and their programming? NBC, ABC? Do we need to support Desperate Housewives with our Cooperative Program funds? (it's a two-sided argument: lost people watch these shows, and need to hear. But the money from ads help make those shows.) Regional/state purchases, focused on local networks and local ratings guides, could be more impactful. So, while this might be a drawback, it could be avoided.

Second, we have many NAMB missionaries that are not fully-funded, but funded in partnership with state/regional conventions. Could there be issues with having some missionaries fully funded and some not? Possibly. I'd rather see us solve that problem by fully funding any missionary serving the Southern Baptist Convention. I can't imagine the difficulty that some of the MSC folks have in raising support, given that we raise people in the SBC to think that we support our missionaries through the Cooperative Program, so they don't have to raise funds. Then somebody shows up to raise funds. It's confusing.

Third, would we risk neglecting an area? Even with 11,000+ total missionaries, we'll miss someone. This is why our mission agencies even now are directed day-to-day by dedicated administrators and executives, but have a board to watch over them, because we all need help maintaing balance in our perspective.

Is it necessary that we do this? Perhaps, perhaps not. Have I missed some opportunities and drawbacks? Certainly. Is this a complete plan? Goodness, no. There are points of how to make this work that will need to be developed by people that understand better how our two boards work. I'd think there is a way to allow nationally collected CP funds to roll back to State Conventions within North America, and allow those state agencies to handle them, to have the state conventions function as regional leadership, as the people who are on the ground, engaged with the culture, and to entrust them with the mission and some of the resources to do it.

This would be a foundation of a Global Mission Board, dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel to All People Everywhere.

How else would I re-imagine the SBC? To be honest, I'd eliminate the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. I think we're about to the point of not trying earthly methods to influence the American government. We need to pray, and our local churches can organize whatever grassroots movements they would like, but with the various Christian political groups around today, I'm not convinced we need our own lobbyist. Missionary in DC? Absolutely! But I think it's time to realize that our political processes are not going to come back to a Biblical viewpoint without a national revival, which is not going to come from Capitol Hill or the White House.

I'd look at ways for Seminaries to partner with state Baptist colleges for ministry training, to reduce the 'total relocation' method of theological education. Moreover, a better partnership is necessary between churches and seminaries to provide both classroom and practical training.

What about the name? I'm not sure what I'd rename the SBC. Anything short of "World Baptists" or "Global Baptists United" would be excluding some of our target population, but until we will invest in the resources to allow distance participation in annual meetings (which we could do), we dare not call ourselves that. On that, we need to do that. More and more, every year, the SBC seems to consist of pastors and their families that have travel budgets. In fact, for the first time in 14 years of SBC service, I'll be going this year, because I now serve a church with the means to help with the expenses. The SBC is going to become an ecclesiastical conclave, and it should not be that. We have access to the technology to host multi-site conventions, and should look at doing so. We'd have to reduce some of the theme interpretations, some of the sermons, and some of the reporting would need to be done more in text than orally. But, since the Resolutions committee prepares their report before the convention now, that could be distributed. Rather than bringing all of the people to the same place, people could be dispersed--Jerry Rankin could be one place, Morris Chapman another, Geoff Hammond a third, and Thom Rainer could tweet the whole thing! The business sessions could be unified, use a digital reporting system, and simulcast the President's Sermon each year. The whole thing could be done on one Saturday, allowing more participation from the people. And that would be necessary if we're going to call ourselves more than just Southern Baptists.

What are your thoughts? What have I missed? Because there's a lot to think through as Southern Baptists. We have tremendous opportunities, and tremendous resources. Let's use the best of them!

Now, a little disclaimer: I am NOT anti-SBC. I've been in the SBC all of my life, except 3 years my family was in the Philippines when we went to the Clark Air Base Chapel. I have a degree from a state Baptist College, and credit from a seminary run by SBC folks. I'm SBC baptized, licensed, and ordained. But we need to think about these things. Recently, Lifeway did a survey (well, I guess it was Lifeway--I think Ed Stetzer's name was on it) about how Pastors feel about the CP. It was found that we pastors overwhelming support the Cooperative Program. I do, but I think we could find ways to streamline our use of CP funds. It's still, in my understanding, the best, most efficient way to fund reaching the world, but that doesn't make it perfect. That was the problem with that survey---to protect anonymity, it was all multiple choice questions, without the opportunity to respond open-endedly. It was a good survey, but don't overapply it. I have happily served churches in the SBC that run under 200, which are the bread and butter of the SBC. And most folks are glad to know what the CP does, but there is a general acceptance that it could always be improved, and that there is always a need for more, clear information getting back to churches. We need to consider these things, and act on them.

Sermon Recap for June 9 2024

 Good morning! Here is yesterday's sermon from Mt. Olive Baptist Church