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Showing posts from March, 2010

Credibility

Credibility.  Credibility.  CREDIBILITY!!!Sorry to choke your inbox.  I'm trying to blog a few times a week and not more than once a day, and two days this week I've hit you twice.  However, I've got a bit of a fuss to make to those of you who either preach and lead or who allow people to preach or lead.DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE ABOUT SOMEONE'S CLAIMS ABOUT THEMSELVES!!I am personally fed up with the number of times when someone has risen in the esteem of the multitudes, especially among Christian preacher and leader circles, only to be brought down because they've fluffed their background.  It's beyond imaging why we keep letting this happen.  For those of you, like myself, who are meandering your way through church ministry, do not fake your background.  Be honest.  Is it fair that the church with the nice parsonage won't consider you without a seminary degree?  Maybe not.  But if you don't have one, don't fake it.  If you haven't finished it, say…

Healthcare Reform Part 2

Not that there's been any clamoring for me to follow up on yesterday's healthcare reform commentary, but here's the follow up anyway:1.  I don't like the healthcare reform package.  It's a mandate to buy a product which will strengthen an industry without fixing the reason costs are spiraling as it is.  HOWEVER:I.  This is not the end of American Liberty as we know it.  I think it's too far, but we already have: government run retirement called Social Security; government run schools; government run medical for seniors and the poor; government run food programs; government operated disability insurance.  All of these take from some, many, or all and redistribute.  All of these have already begun the shift to a socialized country.  Each of these creates two classes: those dependent on the government system and those wealthy enough to do whatever they please.  This is just another in a long slide towards a socialized economy.II.  This is not the end of freedom of…

Book Review: Winston Churchill by John Perry

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Winston Churchill (Christian Encounters Series)My latest review for Booksneeze is Winston Churchill by John Perry.  It's another biography in Thomas Nelson Publishers' Christian Encounters Series.  Booksneeze provides free books in exchange for honest reviews.  Check it out at http://www.booksneeze.com (and no, I didn't pick the name).  I've previously reviewed another book in this series, the biography written of John Bunyan.  This biography of Churchill is, by the nature of the series, quite short.  Considering all of the aspects of any life, much less one as crucial to the 20th Century as Winston Churchill, a book this size will not cover everything.  That's neither a strength nor a weakness.  Just a fact.To consider the value of this work, I'd like to take a look at what is included and excluded.Included: quick summaries of the action points of Churchill's life.  This is good to provide background.Excluded: Details of large blocks between the points of …

Healthcare Reform

For those of you just waiting for my opinion on the Healthcare Reform Law that passed last week, as well as the embedded Student Loan Reform Law that was in it, here it is:I don't like it.  Not that I hate sick people.  Not that I hate Democrats.  I still don't like it.Why?First reason: is this making it illegal to not have health insurance?  If so, why does the IRS get the power to administratively charge you more taxes for breaking the law?  Don't we get trials for committing crimes?If it's not illegal, then we're seeing a continuation of something that my conservative friends have long done: creating a set of behaviors that are legal but "taxable."  It's a way of manipulating behavior while technically claiming you're still free to do as you please.  Why do you think there are extra taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and firearms?  It's to discourage the use while still allowing it.  It is a method used by various interests to attempt to limit libe…

1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings

Tonight at church, we're going to be talking about all 4 of these books.  Yes, I recognize that I'll spend 30 minutes preaching on 1 verse at times, and covering 4 books in one night seems a tall order.  It'll be fun.These 4 books are also called by some 1,2,3, and 4 Kings, because they contain the records of the kings of Israel.  It starts with the origin of the monarchy, then covers the 120 years of united monarchy.  By the time we're 12 chapters into 1 Kings, we're into the divided monarchy.  Then we're into the decline and fall of both countries, Israel and Judah.Authorship issues for Samuel and Kings (they're each 2 books because of the original medium: scrolls. Well, scrolls without vowels.  Insert vowels and then put it all on 1 scroll each and you'll kill yourself carrying it about) abound.  First of all, they cover a substantial portion of history.  True, Genesis contains more, but many conservatives have embraced a Moses as final compiler of r…

Thirteen Tips for Leading the Congregation in Prayer

Here's a good read on doing public prayer well.  It's from someone I wish was a friend of mine....but I've never met him and so won't claim him.  He might not want me anyway.  But he's a good read, a good writer, and a decent preacher.  Although he's never, to my knowledge, broken a pulpit to make a point. (ask someone at Calvary Monticello about that.  I'll say no more.)

Thirteen Tips for Leading the Congregation in Prayer

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Repost from Emil Turner's Blog

For those of you that don't navigate much through the blog world, I'll repost this from Emil Turner's blog on the ABSC website.  It's worth the read:Upward Basketball is a tremendous ministry in many of our churches.  An Upward Basketball coach commits more than 3 hours a week to this program.   An AWANA worker gives a minimum of 2.5 hours a week, and an AWANA group leader gives about 5 hours a week, while an AWANA commander gives around 12 hours a week.  In addition, most of these people attend two or more services a week.Do members have time to volunteer at church? AWANA and Upward volunteers have the time and give it gladly.  From these two examples we can learn that it is not a shortage of time that keeps most people from volunteering or serving in their churches.How do you get people to volunteer?  To attend training classes? To work in the Sunday School or to attend on Sunday evening or Wednesday evening?First, recognize the inverse relationship of time and commi…

Sermons from March 21

Go To FileFactory.com Text: Matthew 8:5-13Theme: Faith, healing, authorityDate: March 21, 2010 AMLocation: CBC MonticelloThe story itselfLuke's parallel story: same story: actions on behalf of are actions by Luke 7:2-10How does the Centurion treat Jesus?Recognizes his own unworthinessRecognizes the Authority before him:ComeGoDo thisThe centurion is aware that his command is a mere reflection of the authority of ChristHow does Jesus treat the Centurion?Commends him: marveled; faithAnd those like him: that those will come from east and west to recline at the table with the great ones of faithHow does the crowd get involved?Jewish elders have protested that this Roman is worthy Luke 7:2-10They have heard from the Roman's friends that he does not feel himself worthyJesus points out his worthiness, but it is not because of his deeds to build a synagogue or kindness to the Jews, but because of his faith in Christ HimselfJesus also uses the centurion as a point of rebuke to the people…

Romans 8:27

27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.Romans 8:27 (ESV) Do you catch that?  The Spirit of God intercedes for us and through us according to the will of God.  One thing I'm seeing more of as I read through Romans right now is that the will and desire of people is mostly a moot point.  The real question is whether we align our wills with the God of the Universe or not.  If not, we might be in trouble.  If we do, we have all the help we could ever ask for or need.Thus far in Romans, I'm seeing, really, three things developing:1.  The problem of our estrangement from God: we are not right with God by nature.  Our nature has been corrupted by sin, and that amplified by generations of repetition and by the days of our choosing.  We are, whether raised to the Law or raised apart from it, not good enough and as such are estranged from God.2.  The provision of our adoption by God:  we…

Longshots and hopes

Just as a quick observation: since the NCAA Basketball Tournament went to 64 teams, no #16 seed has beaten a #1 seed.  For those of you that don't know, the tournament is in 4 regions, each seed out 1-16, so there is no #64 seed.If there was one, though, it would be the winner of the "play-in" game that is played on the Tuesday of the first tournament week.  This game was created because, apparently, the NCAA promises every conference that 1 team from their conference gets in the tournament.  However, compared to the big conferences that pay people to take SATs for their athletes or write their papers for them, some of these smaller conferences just aren't athletically competitive.  The big names don't mind using them as early season cupcakes, but don't really like them taking the spotlight in March.  So, enter the play-in game.  This way, 2 teams that no one wants to play, but the NCAA is stuck with, can play each other and get rid of one.  I honestly think,…

Book Review: Start Here

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As a book review for Waterbrook/Multnomah, which provided me with a free book to review for this blog.  So, here's the book:The cover picture is linked to a purchase-enabled website if you're interested.This book is a follow-up to Alex and Brett Harris's first book Do Hard Things.  It's essentially an effort to answer some of the questions raised in their first book and to share some of what teenagers challenged by Do Hard Things.The book is delivered in a question-and-answer format, and is a plain language explanation of what types of hard things teenagers have been tackling in the three years since Do Hard Things came out.I am, personally, a little disappointed in some of the hard things listed and held up as an example.  Perhaps it's because, in the 15 years since I was in high school, the expectations of teenagers have eroded worse than they were then, but some of this stuff just doesn't sound that hard.  Some of it is.  There's an example of a young ma…

A little bloggy update

I've been a bit unfocused in my blogging lately.  Many experts in building a huge blog following recommend that you pick certain topics and stay on them to build up your following.  I've not taken that advice.I also haven't taken the advice about post length.  Self-promotion, not really, giveaways, not so much, and various other items.  I don't have massively amazing layouts or anything eye-catching.  I don't even bother with paid hosting, hence the "wordpress.com" or "blogger.com" in my web address. Why?Well, because, as I've recently expressed, I blog as a sideline.  It's a higher sideline than the book I'm writing, which is currently in rough hideous outline format.  However, it's not the be all and end all of my time.  It's a diversion.And that's ok.  We all need diversions.  If we can develop diversions that help our efforts in life, then so much the better.  I, for one, type better than I ever have since I've be…

Sermon Outlines and Audio Player

Here are the intended outlines from yesterday and the audio player of what was actually preached!Go To FileFactory.com And yes, the colors clash hideously.Doug

Proverbs 15 by Doug

Proverbs 15:8 –>We are reminded here that what is in the heart is much more important than anything else.  Sacrifices are of no use if your heart is far from God.  Additionally, too often we're not very willing to make sacrifices that are truly valuable, and having a wicked heart lends itself to really cheating.  Wicked hearts will sacrifice the things that should not be sacrificed.  Meanwhile, we see that the upright need only pray.  Why?  Because their life is based in obedience, and so they will have sacrificed along the way.Proverbs 15:16 –>What's more important to you?Proverbs 15:17 –>RATATOUILLE!! Not just the movie, but the meal itself.  By the way, the film is worth the watching because it actually illustrates Proverbs 15:16-17.  Ratatouille, as a dish, is a meal of vegetables.  It's considered a "peasant dish" because, well, it's for poor people.  In the film, it's the center piece dish of changing the heart of the mean food critic.  Why…

Only as good as the source

Earlier this week, I helped one of our students with a school project to put on a talent show to raise fund for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  She put together a talent show featuring fellow students.  All told, it was a good idea.The show, however, didn't come off quite perfectly.  It was organized decently, but we had some sound system issues.  You see, many of the students who were singing didn't have the right kind of music track to sing from.  Rather than an instrumental track, they were singing along with the actual album track.  Also, one of the students had put every track on a data CD that he wanted to play from a MacBook computer.Except that the sound system, for some reason, would not pick up the incoming from the Mac.  I think it had somewhat to do with the cord that took a 1/8 inch stereo headphone out, split it into L/R, and then converted it back into a 1/4 inch stereo input.  It would be better to split it into 2 single channels, 1 left and 1 right…

Blogging v. Preaching I

This morning, as I was headed to church, I began thinking about the differences between preaching and blogging. It was kind of a follow-on thought to a conversation Ann and I had the day before.Saturday, we were at church so that she could practice the song she was planning to sing this morning at church. While she was working on that, I was tinkering with the sound system. I do this for two reasons. The first is that it keeps the church sound man hopping on Sundays. Sometimes hopping mad, but always hopping. The second is that we're striving to record our Sunday services so that we have both a taped record of what happens and we digitally record them on my laptop. These digital recordings become our church podcast.The challenge is that I'm the one who understands the digital recording software and the laptop used for it. I am, however, a wee bit busy during the Sunday services, especially the sermon part, which is what we record to podcast. (We're cautious of doing the si…

Restarting when you fail

Those of you who know me, know that I once attempted to attend seminary at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.  Due to a variety of circumstances, many of which were my own choices, I didn't finish.That's been a frustration for me for the 6 years since I gave up.  It just feels like failure when you aren't able to finish something you start.  Especially when you can see all the ways it was your own fault you couldn't do it.So, I've been trying to find ways over the past few years to finish my education.  I had a false start with Gordon-Conwell Seminary, but UPS decided not to pay the tuition reimbursement benefit on it, so I couldn't afford to keep going.Ann and I considered going to Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and had gathered information about it.  The biggest hitch?  Well, I'm a pastor in Monticello, Arkansas.  Louisville's a beast of a commute from here.  We started looking at all the options that involved doing distance learnin…

Proverbs 12 by Doug

Proverbs 12:8 –>I think when you look at this, it doesn't preclude the perverse minded man being praised.  He just gets to add despised to his resume as well.  When you consider some of the men of history that we don't remember with fondness, we still praise their effectiveness.  It's hard to tell how Germany fell to what it did in 1935-1945 without realizing the skill of Hitler or to fail to note the effective brutality of the Roman Emperors.  The question for us is: will we use our insight well or be perverse with it?Proverbs 12:16 –>Learn to hold back your anger.  Then, take it to the Lord and let Him revenge it.  By concealing it, you avoid dishonor.  I've got to learn this better myself.Proverbs 12:24 –>Are you willing to work?  Why is it that we seem to think that attaining to leadership and greatness should entitle us to not work?  True, focus on what you alone can do, but the diligent will rule, not the slacker.

Book Review: John Bunyan

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Book review time!  Today, thanks to the good graces of the Booksneeze program, you'll be learning about the book John Bunyan from Thomas Nelson's Christian Encounters Series.  What's it look like, you ask?  Here you go:John Bunyan (Christian Encounters Series)This book, which was provided free in exchange for the review, is linked above on Amazon, which is an affiliate link, all of which is discussed at length in Disclosures!So, John Bunyan, by Kevin Belmonte is today.  First, I've never read any other biography of Bunyan.  I only recently finished reading Pilgrim's Progress, which is a missing piece of life I'm glad to have filled in this year.  Since all I know about Bunyan is that he wrote Pilgrim's Progress and that he was in prison for 12 years when he wrote it, I'm not qualified to comment on Belmonte's historical accuracy.  I'm going to assume that, as a Thomas Nelson book, the editors didn't let it out without historical fact-checkin…

Being Contrary

It's not just a hobby, it's a way of life.  At least for some of us.  It doesn't matter whether we have better ideas or not, we know bad ideas when we see them.  Or we can punch holes in mediocre ideas, whether there's merit to those ideas or not.And it's probably time to work on breaking the habit.  While giving something a rigorous examination and citing problems with any given plan, idea, or system is appropriate, there's no reason to do it just for fun.It's a danger that I'm struggling with. Why?  Well, let's see…In politics, it seems that there have been, for the last several years, many ideas worth simply skewering and going on.  It hasn't gotten any better lately.  You've got health-care reform, CPISA, baby sling warnings, financial stupidity, and corruption.  What's not to be contrary with?In Baptist life, there's plenty to pick on.  There's the debate over the GCRTF report (or the lack of debate), the apparent coming eld…

Proverbs 11

Looking at Proverbs 11:8 today:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead. Proverbs 11:8 (ESV)I find this interesting to consider.  At first glance, this appears to tell us that righteous people won't have problems and the wicked people will get them instead.Except that life shows us that this understanding isn't true.  This week alone, I've read of Christians being killed for their faith in 3 separate countries.  In Pakistan, 6 people were killed while at work with Compassion International, an organization that feeds starving children.  It's hard to doubt that the wicked walked away from trouble while the righteous went undelivered, like a UPS overgood.However, if you throw in the Biblical definition of righteousness, we start to get a better understanding.  Take a look at Isaiah 53:6 :6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us …

Romans 8:1-2

Life in the Spirit8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)While many wiser minds have sliced and diced these verses, I'm going to add my 2 cents worth.  Why?  Because that's one of the great things about blogging.  I can write on the same subjects as great men like John Piper or Emil Turner or even what Martin Luther published.  Of course, my stats show an important truth about my writing, but that's ok too.  I write, hoping I'll be read, but also for my own edification.  It is funny, though, to see all the emails telling me how to make money from blogging.  Right. That's really going to happen.So, Romans 8:1-2?I.  Notice the now If there is now no condemnation, then there was condemnation then.  And it's gone.  If you are in Christ Jesus, the condemnation that was is no more.  That doesn't change the rea…

Bad data leads to bad conclusions

I've been trying to avoid too much digital ink spilled over current internal Southern Baptist Convention goings-on.  That's for several reasons.  One is that I'm not spending near as much time on that as on other issues in life.  Why?  Because I doubt that anything I say about the SBC influences anyone, but I have a family to lead, a church to minister to, and a digital audience that probably just doesn't care.However, something I read in Baptist Press yesterday caught my attention.  For those of you that don't know it, we Southern Baptists decided last year that, perhaps, we needed to examine how we operate to see if there are better ways to work together to allow more of the funds we put into missions to actually be used…..to spread the Gospel.  So, we took a very Baptist approach to the problem: we appointed a committee to examine it.  Well, we approved a committee.  They were then appointed by the SBC President.Well, the committee just released it's prelimi…

Proverbs 9

Proverbs 9:8: 8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Proverbs 9:8 (ESV)This verse is highlighted to me today, as I'm at Preview Days for Mid-America Baptist Seminary.  I'm hoping to finish my M.Div. through their distance learning program here, and wanted to take the opportunity to come see the new campus.You see, I attended this seminary before.  I didn't finish, and I don't know that we parted on the best of terms.  I, personally, left upset.  I don't think anyone with the seminary noticed I left.Some of what I learned and received while I was here the first time was easy, and some was hard.  Some was encouraging, and there was some that easily qualifies as a rebuke or as being reproved.  What's reproved?  Corrected, shown the truth in contrast to your own ideas.I didn't always take kindly to the reproval.  Point of fact, I left here with very little love for MABTS or for several professors.Now, I&…

Happy Birthday Ann!

This blog will now temporarily depart from any normal posting to talk about someone very important.

She's incredibly good at keeping up with all the household stuff.


I, on the other hand, would lose my head if it weren't attached. It would follow my mind wherever it has already gone to.

All that being said, today is my lovely wife's birthday, and she's spending it traveling with me to Memphis.  There are precious few things in this world that matter more to me than her, and that she doesn't consider it a bad birthday just because she gets to spend it all with me is such an amazing picture of her graciousness and beauty that I can't hardly explain it.

And you should read her blog.  It's at http://www.annhibbard.com (I got her the domain name for her birthday.  Well, there's supposed to be some web design with it, but I'm having to learn that as I go, and it's harder than it looks.)

Happy Birthday, sweetie.  Sorry I didn't make a cake, but I&…

March 7 Sermons

I used handwritten outlines this week for sermons, so I'll not be cut and pasting them here, although I really want to stay in the habit.  Here's the audio player that's normally on the church blog to listen to them, if you're interested:



Go To FileFactory.com

Med School and Seminary

I've recently confessed to you, my dear reader, that I've taken to watching Scrubs, a medical sitcom that used to air on NBC.  There's currently a spin-off like version on ABC, but it's kind of like AfterMASH without the chemistry.  Or that season of the A-Team when they were actually working for the government.  However, the original has become one of my current favorite shows.As I'm one of the bigger nerds I know, when I start learning a little about something, I'm often curious about learning more.  When we were in a Boston Legal habit, I read up on law firms and law school.  Now that we're on the medical side, I thought I'd learn a little about medical school.  I've long known that medical school and seminary are somewhat similar it terms of the academic structures.  They are both graduate professional schools, both take much more than the 30 hours a typical MA takes, and are highly specialized in their teaching.  Medical school is actually the …

Comparative Standards

I'm sitting here sipping my second day's supply of Green Mountain Coffee's Los Nacientes Special Reserve Coffee.  It's a remarkable coffee.  In fact, my "I can't stand coffee though I love the smell" lovely wife even took a sip because of the scent.  It's the first time she hasn't immediately spit out what she tasted and grabbed for the closest thing with a strong flavor to clear her palate.Personally, I'm really enjoying the coffee.  It's a good flavor, great aroma, and it's not too acidic or too bitter.  It stands alone nicely.  What I'm thinking about as I drink it is all the times I've thought I found a coffee that's better than another.  I first found that I prefer Maxwell House to Folgers, then that I liked the Dunkin' Donuts brand at Wal-Mart.  Then I tried the Millstone flavored coffees.  Then I started on Cameron's Coffee, which was miles ahead of the previous.  Now, thanks to slick marketing tactics, I'…

Surely, you can't be serious

There's a story near the end of Joshua that has always struck me as, well, odd.  It's in Joshua 22.  The verses that really draw it out are The Eastern Tribes' Altar of Witness10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 11 And the people of Israel heard it said, “Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.Joshua 22:10-12 (ESV)Let's think about this.  The people of Israel that have grumbled and complained against God.  That, before much longer, will turn away from God completely for a littl…