Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Missing things

I have to admit something, and it's hard to say this.  Here it is though:  There are things that I miss.  Skills, stuff, jobs…

For example, I miss the ability to sing.  For a couple of reasons.  One, because some people for whom singing comes so easily cannot believe that I can't do it.  Guess what?  I really can't.  Contact Second Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Arkansas and ask the music minister there.  Go ahead.  It bothered him and his professional pride as much that he couldn't teach me as that I couldn't learn.

And this time of year, there's so much singing and happiness, that I just miss the opportunity to take part full voice.  But it's not fair.

Other skills I'm missing are the ability to fix the power windows in the car and some other repair-type skills.  I can generally fix a computer, but fixing houses and cars is a whole different story.

Then there's stuff.  First of all, there's decorating stuff.  I wish I could wrap my entire house and all its trees and bushes with lights that aircraft could use as a guide beacon.  I'd like to get a call from NASA, relaying congratulations from the space station. 

And I'd like to see all kinds of things under the tree, mainly to fill it with the desires of my wife and kids, but I won't over-pious you: there's things I want (a Keurig coffee maker, some more coffee, a new TV, a few more firearms, and, oh, some coffee…) as well.  We are having to be very budget conscious until our house in Mississippi sells, because we're hoping that scrimping pennies will buy us the time we need to sell it.  As it stands, we're headed for a mess there, but God has graciously provided us with a little more time.  If the bank can be as forgiving as He is, it will be ok.  If not, well, we'll talk about that later, ok?

Finally, I miss something I never thought I'd miss.  I miss UPS peak season.  The yelling, the screaming, the unmitigated chaos of boxes flying everywhere.  Why do I miss this?  Well, I don't really missed getting yelled at, the explosions of profanity (especially the odd invoking of He who the season is named for.  I don't think they really wanted Him to show up), or the pains from it.  I miss the teamwork. 

Every day in peak at UPS, you're expected to do better than the day before, faster than before, more correct than before, and often with fewer resources.  And most of the time, we were able to do it.  Sure, there were some high-speed meltdowns, and there were never days that went as planned, not even as the backup plan indicated.  Still, though, we got boxes off trucks, sorted, and back on trucks.  We screamed and yelled and accomplished together.

I somewhat miss the crush of hungry shoppers from fast food days.  I miss the teamwork it takes to feed them, take their money, and get them out.

All in all, what do I miss?  There's a severe lack of togetherness for many of us in America these days.  If we aren't forced into it by work or tragedy, many of us live away from each other.  Now, I'm not saying I want 20 people moving in with me, but as we're transitioning into a new church, we're not yet really involved with a group to do things right now.  I miss it.  It's one of the downsides of small-church ministry: I spend time at the church, but there's no one there, no sharing of ideas or encouraging of one another.  No accountability for whether you're on task or not.

I miss those parts of UPS.  We are lacking those parts in our churches, though, and it's tragic.  Think about it: all UPS does is move stuff.  Now, there's times that it's important stuff, but it's still, usually, just things.  The world will really not end if you don't get that sweater overnight.  Your family won't starve because you didn't get the latest great seasonings in 2 days, and you had bland food to eat.

Yet in churches, we have a vital message that people will die eternally for a lack of, and we lack urgency about what we do.  We are more than happy to postpone discussion another month, another meeting, another convention, and all the while, people are dying without Christ.  We talk a game about accountability, but we refuse to structure our lives and churches so that we have no real opportunity to have it.  We manage to come up short when it comes to encouraging one another.  Let's try and pick that up.

One tool that we can use for this is our internet relationships with each other, as well as our real ones.  Some of you in Baptist blogdom, let's pick one blogger to pray for and encourage for the next 12 months.  A great plan would be to pick one you don't always agree with. 

Pick a Facebook friend, a real friend, and a family member.  Pray for them and encourage them for the next month.  See how it goes and what God does.

And let's be as urgent about living in obedience to the King as we are about getting boxes from place to place.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A few random thoughts…

I don't have anything long or coherent this morning, but here's some diverse comments:

1.  On the Mack's Prairie Wings website (they're the nation's premiere waterfowl outfitter, apparently, and in Stuttgart), they list "Dog Training Dummies" for sale.  I wonder if these are job applicant rejects, or what their actual source of dummies is.  Perhaps reject politicians?

2.  Not sure what to say about this: http://www.katv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13412257 (High school track athlete collides with deer during race!) other than that, if I've got to take up cross-country running to get a deer, you can forget it.

3.  Speaking of deer hunting, no, I haven't shot anything yet.  I'm letting them get bigger, yeah, that's it.  Also, I'm wondering, there's catch-and-release fishing, has anyone figured out how to do shoot-and-release hunting?  Like with a long-range tranquilizer dart, so you can have the thrill of the hunt while letting the deer go? Want to know why not?  Deer taste better than fish.

4.  We put up our Christmas tree yesterday.  We do have an artificial tree, but as I was straightening the thing out, I wondered: "If God doesn't grow straight Christmas trees, who am I to make mine perfect?"  So it's crooked.

5.  Yesterday, the temperature dropped from 73 to 41 in about 4 hours.  The only time it gets cold that fast is a Baptist church business meeting.

6.  We had a good Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, and then turned all the leftovers into soup.  After we eat a meal of the soup, we'll mix the soup with some thickener, like cream of chicken soup, pour that into a pie crust and make a pot pie.  Good times, and you never really think of it as eating leftovers.

7.  Today is the Auburn-Alabama football game, also known as the Iron Bowl. The families that were together yesterday will now be divided again.  Actually, are there any families in the state of Alabama that have both Auburn and Alabama fans?

8. Our Christmas tree is up.  Penguins seem to predominate the tree, as if they were a planned motif.  We just like them.  Although we seem to have just about every 5-member family penguin ornament from Calliope Designs.  We'll have to either repeat one next year or find a sixth family member.

That's about it….


Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Legend of Big John

As a preacher, I read a large variety of illustration books, story books, and joke books looking for stories to help make a point.  I don't know where I first read the Legend of Big John, but I thought I'd share it today:

It seems that, way back in the Old West, a traveler came into a little town out past Abilene.  He had been a'ridin' all day, and had developed for himself, well, a powerful thirst.  As he rode into town, he saw some signs up.  Warning signs, really, that the folk of the town should be careful, because Big John was in the area.

So, our traveler rode up to the hitchin' rack at the saloon, and went in and ordered himself somethin' to satisfy that powerful thirst he'd developed.  Suddenly, a ruckus broke out, as a man ran in off the street and cried in terror "Big John's a-comin'!" All the patrons of the saloon gulped down one last drink, the pharaoh dealers collected their cards, and bolted out the back door.  Some of them went to cowering behind the player piano, and the proprietor grabbed his shotgun, his best whiskey, and ducked behind the bar.

Now our traveler had endured dust storms, coyotes, and a buffalo stampede, so he wasn't quite so easily spooked, and, after all, was a-tryin' to satisfy his powerful thirst.  So, as he stood there, resting his tired boots at the bar, he waited.  He could see through the picture window that the streets had cleared, and the women-folk and children were locked in to the schoolhouse.  Everyone knew that, well, Big John was a-comin'.

Into the bar where our traveler rested his tired soles came the biggest, orneriest lookin' cattle rustlin' varmint he'd ever seen.  This cowpoke was at least 4 inches taller than he was, and broad enough to evoke sympathy for whatever animal he would ride the range on.  He was wearing 2 holsters, one for each shotgun, and was chewin' on a piece of barbed wire that matched his belt.The fellow broke through the door, and looked around the bar, noticing the emptiness.  Except, of course, for our weary traveler.  And though there wasn't a yellow bone in his body, he filled up with fear, and began to understand the town's situation.  Now, though, it was too late…

The traveler looked ruffian square in the eye and said, though greatly fearful inside, "What seems to be the trouble here, pardner?"

To which the ruffian replied: "Can't talk now, man.  Big John's a-comin!"

So, what am I thankful for today?  Naturally, there are many things that sound almost too trite to repeat, but family, friends, fellowship, food, freedom, forgiveness…(and alliteration!)

Yet today, I want to be thankful that, while we have enemies and troubles on this earth, and they're as scary as a huge ruffian a-chewin' barbed wire, those troubles will someday cower in fear before the King of Kings.  That all the things that we may fear are, in truth, afraid.  Why?

Not because Big John's a-comin', but because King Jesus has come and paid for our forgiveness.  And because King Jesus is coming again, to pay those who wish to be paid for their works, and to show grace and mercy to those who have asked for that instead.

So, while your troubles may be striking fear into your heart, remember that even those troubles fear someone greater!

And unlike Big John, we know that King Jesus is on the side of His people, and those who acknowledge Him have nothing to fear.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First deer hunt…

Yesterday, I went deer hunting for the first time.  Well, first I went barrel hunting.  I definitely got the barrel, but it wasn't moving.  We didn't actually see any deer we had a good shot at, and there were only about 2 squirrels in the whole area of the woods we were in.  So, it wasn't very productive in the 'bring home dinner' category, but it was a pretty good time.

Since I didn't shoot at any deer, I don't have any thoughts about that.  I'm contemplating the ideas of the quietness necessary, the stillness, and the patience, but those are lessons that I'm cautious about writing about, since I know that I have not achieved any level of accomplishment in those areas and don't really want to be pushed into learning them more than I already deal with!

I was actually going to reflect, just momentarily, on target practice.  Here's what happened:

We went out, into the middle of the farm, and parked about 50, maybe 75 feet from a barrel.  On this barrel, one of the guys stuck a bright orange target sticker.  Then, sitting on a seat on the back of the truck, I shot at it.  Now, for all of my rhetoric about the Second Amendment and such, I haven't pulled the trigger on a loaded gun in 12 years.  It's not a hobby I've had the time, location, or finances to spend on, so I haven't done it.

So, I set down, pick up the rifle, and start to line up a shot.  I look through the scope, see the orange dot, and pull the trigger.  Immediately, a few things happened:

1.  The rifle kicked back and the scope hit me square between the eyes.
2.  The bullet, probably before the scope hit me, goes through the orange target about 1.5 inches off the bull's-eye.
3.  The rifle reloaded itself and was ready to go again.

Now, about these 3 things:

1.  I've never fired a rifle with a scope on it.  When in Boy Scouts, we lined up the good-old iron sights, and fired.  When I did this later with my handgun, I didn't hit quite as well, but missed low.  I knew the rifle would kick, but I didn't put two and two together and think about what would happen with the scope and my eye with my eye so close to it.  I jerked back a little, which allowed for the hit between the eyes rather than right in the eye.

Then I found out something: the reason I was having trouble seeing the target through the scope was that the scope is designed to be hard to see through when you're too close!  You're supposed to keep your head back out of black-eye range so you don't get hit.

2.  I'm a better shot than I realized.

Well, not exactly.  You see, I wasn't shooting my rifle.  Dad's loaning me his rifle, but he's bringing it as he travels up here for Thanksgiving. (Obviously, he's skipping any type of body scan or pat-down.  I will have 3 security agents tackle and tickle him on arrival, though.)  I shot Ryan's rifle.  It's already sighted-in, with the scope dialed just right.  So, having the prep-work done made it much easier.  All I had to do was point-and-click.  This was extremely obvious with the next gun that I shot dead-center.

3.  It's nice to have a quick second chance.  Had I been shooting at a deer, I might have tried to crazily pull of the second shot just to make sure it was dead!

Now, I'm not a hunter or a sportsman.  I am learning some of these skills and picking up the hobby for recreation and relationship, but down in, I'm a preacher/teacher.  I'm not telling you all this to help your wood-skills.  I have a point or two:

1.  As believers, as a church, we have a goal.  Just as my goal was to hit the target, we have a goal to hit.  It may be, like my barrel shooting, an intermediate goal.  Long-term, I don't hope to shoot a barrel a week, I hope to shoot 5 deer, 2 turkeys, and all the rabbits I want (thinking about getting my wife a fur coat)! I may even add the duck stamp and fowl up.  In our churches, our ultimate target is to make disciples of all nations.  However, you can't get to all the nations tomorrow.  You can, however, get started.  Set intermediate goals, but never give up on the long-range goal: the Word of God presented to every tribe, tongue, nation, people.  Disciples from everywhere, making disciples everywhere.  Start somewhere.  Even if you don't hit exactly, you can hit close!

2.  Really, the heavy work has been done.  I have no idea how long it took Ryan to match the scope with the rifle.  I'll find out as I try to make sure mine is matched well and sighted-in.  For believers, though, the heavy work was done at the Cross.  Really, there was about 33 years (we'll debate that number later) that were the hardest, from the manger to the cross, and finishing at the empty tomb.  Jesus Christ did the work of reconciling us to the Father, of paying for our sins.  He then ascended, and the Holy Spirit descended, such that we have the help we need.  Add in that God has given us His Word in Scripture, and we are simply lining up a sighted-in rifle with a giant scope.  The hard part is done: pull the trigger and share the Gospel, make disciples.

3.  Be ready to try again!  There is no magic bullet that can completely account for our tendency to screw up.  There's always a way in which we're not perfect, always something that causes us to not quite hit right, especially the first 5 times or so.  Keep up the effort.

4.  Realize that sometimes, the very things we use to accomplish our tasks will sting us.  Either we realize as we share God's truths with people that we're not exactly right (should happen, you're not perfect either!) or the very people that we expect to help us instead bruise us.  Guess what?  It happens.  Sometimes, it's because we're not doing something right, sometimes it's just the nature of the situation.  Either way, it cannot distract from the real purpose.  A bruised head shouldn't stop a deer hunter.  A bruise or two should even moreso not stop us from striving forward spiritually. 

Those are just some thoughts from yesterday.  Eventually, hopefully, I'll have some thoughts about actually shooting a deer.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sermon Outline 11-21

Evening service was an open testimony of thankfulness time.  Wish you could have been there!


Audio link (right click, save as)

Text: John 4 (34-38)

Theme: Thankful for the Harvest

Date: November 21 AM

Location: FBC Almyra

  1. The situation

    1. Centuries old religious conflict

    2. People that don't get along

    3. People that have, well, different views on morality

  2. The solution

    1. The Messiah

    2. Worship in Spirit and in Truth

      1. Understand who God is

      2. Understand what He really wants---our lives

    3. Believe, and show others, that they may believe themselves

  3. The spread

    1. The Lord Jesus Christ identifies that there is a harvest

    2. Not of water or of food

    3. Rather of souls, of the life eternal

  4. The thanksgiving:

    1. Water that is eternal

    2. Being known for what we truly are

    3. Being invited to worship God correctly

    4. Food that truly satisfies

    5. A mission that will be rewarded

A Balancing Act

So, last night, we stayed up and watched the double-overtime game that the Arkansas Razorbacks played against Mississippi State.  We were quite pleased that the Hogs won, but then Ann and I had to wind down and get to bed.

It led to a conversation on our part about things like, well, staying up late to watch football.  (By the way, late? 10:00.)  We both know people that would condemn the frivolity and people that will spend all day today talking about yesterday’s Hog win.

So, what’s appropriate?  As with many other things, problems develop when you try to attach an absolute rule to something God Himself did not explicitly do so.  Scripture speaks not one word directly on football or baseball or recreational sports in general.  There is, however, a good amount of Scripture that indicates we should focus on things that draw us nearer to God.  (No, praying for a gust of wind to blow left-to-right at the end of the 1st OT doesn’t count as getting closer to God.)

There are also many Proverbs that indicate wisdom is found in enjoying the good things without overdoing them.  For example, homemade banana bread is good.  Eating the entire thing in a day, not so good.  Celebrating a Hog win yesterday is good, celebrating a Titans win today will be good, but I’ll be preaching John 4, and in seeing how that applies to what we have to be thankful for, football will likely not come up.  It’s just not that important.

So, rather than try to apply a blanket rule, seek wisdom, seek the middle ground.  Too often we get into fights by trying to push people to agree with us on all issues.  There are some crucial ones, but whether or not you watch a football game isn’t one.

Whenever you take your own personal choices and elevate them to critical status, you’re headed into trouble.  I think this is a part of what’s killing our ability to spread the Gospel as Baptists.  It’s not enough to agree that without Christ, people are destined for eternal judgment, and that they must hear, repent, believe.  We’ve got to insist that first all believers agree with us, and second, that any new believers agree with everything.  We don’t just seek salvation from sin, but we want people to know that once they’re saved they have to become 6-day anti-yoga creationists.  Now, I’m a 6-day creationist, but I like the little green guy in Star Wars.  These issues shouldn’t even come up with the lost world. 

A relationship with Christ is what saves, a lack of one leaves you to the condemnation your works have earned.  Can we not focus on that?  We’re chasing rabbits, and it’s deer season. 



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Crossing Bridges

Yesterday, I managed to get in over my head on a tree-branch trimming project.  I was trimming some branches with a chainsaw, and after getting the little branches I wanted, I saw some bigger branches to trim.  The bigger ones were starting to brush the shingles on the roof of the house, and I thought they should go.

Well, the first branch came down without a problem.  The second branch?  The chain jumped off on the chainsaw.  So, I tried to put the chain back on. I put it on backwards, and it locked up.  I put in on right, and it jumped again.  Therefore, I called for help.

One of my deacons came over with a bigger chainsaw and a pole saw.  (He’s also a man I went to college with when neither of us were preachers or deacons.  Or men, for that matter, we were still boys.)  We ended up sawing through what was left of the limb with a pole saw, and then went out on the farm to get a trailer and haul off the tree butchery I had done. 

While we were out on the farm, Jonathan asked I wanted to see the reservoir on the farm.  Now, typically it just holds water for crops, but this time of year, it holds something else.  Ducks.  Lots of ducks.  In fact, around here, “reservoir” gets replaced with “duck water” this season.  Not fall, not holiday, but duck season.  I’m starting to get involved in this whole idea of shoot it and eat it, so I was curious. 

What I didn’t count on was what it would take to get there.  The reservoir is on the other side of the drainage bayou, and the only way from where we were was across the pump pipes.  There was a bridge there, once, made of grain bin flooring put across the pipes, but that fell in, and now, there are 2 pipes I’d guess are a little more than a foot in diameter.  So, to go see the future dinner, I mean ducks, we walked across a pipe.  This was not an easy task, since there’s no hand hold or anything else, and it was about a 6-foot drop into the bayou.  (We need rain, it should be about a 6-inch drop.)

Jonathan went across like it was nothing, and then waited for me.  And waited.  Both directions, going and coming.  I made it across, though it took a lot of effort in balance and a few false starts.

The view, I must admit, was breathtaking.  Not of me on the pipe, but of the water, the ducks, the trees, the sunset.  I wished I would have carried something to shoot with. Not a shotgun, but something in the Canon-Olympus-Nikon range.  The colors, the majesty, the tranquility.  The sight was amazing.  A red-orange sky, a slight wave in a small lake, with tree stumps here and there, and then little spots all across the water. The spots?  Ducks.  Lots of ducks. (Jonathan estimated a couple of thousand.)  Then, a few flying in, a few flying out.

After a few minutes, back across the pipe and out.  (And finding out that, if one were headed out there to hunt, you come in from the far side of the farm and drive in.)

What to say?

1.) Sometimes we cross bridges to where we want to be.  Sometimes we have to cross pipes, because the bridges aren’t there anymore.  For this sight, had I gone a few years ago, there was a bridge, but now it’s a pipe.  In life, sometimes we miss an opportunity to get somewhere via bridge, but we still should go.  Cross the pipe and get there.

2.) Just because the pipe is easy for you, it’s not automatically easy for someone else.  Be patient, and talk them through it.

3.) I can’t say I could have crossed that pipe with a shotgun and a bag of duck decoys.  I would have been terrified if I had been carrying even my cell phone, knowing a false move would have destroyed the phone!  Don’t carry what you don’t need.

4.) Take where the opportunity is.  I could have said “no” to crossing the pipe, but I would have never seen that sight.  It was worth it.


What pipes are there for you to cross?  Take the time, take the risk. 


Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas time….AGAIN?!?

We were in Wal-Mart this morning to finally decide what we’re having for Thanksgiving dinner, and I realized that it’s time to talk about Christmas presents.  No, this is not my Christmas wish list or my children’s lists.  Well, not exactly.

I want to, rather, tell you a little story.  Sometime ago, I guess about 2001, we were a little tight on cash around Christmas time, and wanted to find some way to still give Christmas gifts to the multitude of folks we needed to give to.  Ann hit on the idea to make customized photo calendars to family members.  It was a bigger hit than it would have been the year before, because Olivia had been born earlier that year.  Well, since then, calendars are now our gift of choice more than a gift of necessity.  In the process, a few years Ann has sold custom calendars to some other folks enough to cover the expenses (at least nearly) of doing our own. 

Meanwhile, this led to our doing some consideration of what really matters about gift giving.  When our kids started going to the Mother’s Day Out Ann worked for, we wanted to do something nice, as all the other kids did, for their teachers.  We also noticed the small gifts that a lot of kids were giving Sunday School teachers, choir teachers, and so on, and so forth….

We didn’t want to give cheap trinkets.  We had seen enough of those in our days, and even given enough of them. I think we’re nearly done moving those types of things, and have managed to pass them on or use them up.  So, what to do?

Here’s what we did:

We took Christmas gift money and gave it away.  We then made cards, put in a description of where the money had been given, and gave the cards.  The basic message was that in honor of their work, we had given to do something.  One year it was building a church in Qatar.  One year it was ministry work in Central America.  Some people kind of give us the “you’re odd!” look when we do this.  Others like it.  We do it.  Not that we’re against gifts.  We’ll still give gifts to many, but we felt that the greatest thing we could do in many cases was to show others that their efforts in love and faith were noticed.

(I do believe I found that there was a movie of some sort that encouraged this type of giving, as well as various email forwards.  Believe it or not, I’ve never seen the movie, and almost never do anything simply because of email forwards, so I don’t think those influenced us.)

In this vein, since I started blogging, I’ve posted a Christmas suggestion list.  Here are some of the places that I’d recommend you look for your Christmas list this year, with links and short descriptions:

1.  There are times that you want something in hand to give.  This is true in our house, and there will be some people here in Almyra that will receive a gift bought here. WorldCrafts Village is connected to the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) and is an opportunity to buy items made, often internationally, by people in need of a job.  Whether it’s a jobs program that enables local pastors to survive or funding support for women in danger or for refugees, every item has a story. 

2.  Another good group of folks are Rivers of the World.  If you listen to K-Love, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard Ben Mathes on a voice spot talking about their work, at least a little.  ROW is a ministry organization that travels, well, rivers, especially jungle ones, sharing the love of Christ.  It was ROW that had a special opportunity, though, to help build a church on the Arabian peninsula few years back, and we got to help with that.  They also were involved in Central America in a community that the Iranian Army was also trying to be involved in.  The Iranians were doing some civil projects trying to show how good they were, and ROW had been there for a while as well.  Eventually, the locals asked the Iranians to leave, because they’d rather have the Christians.  The Iranian Army left.  That’s right.  How many US Presidents have had trouble with the Iranians?  ROW is a great group of folks.  There is also a store with artwork/crafts that you can purchase from, or you can just donate.  I like the MegaVoice Bibles, but that’s just me.  Getting God’s Word to folks is important.

3.  Adoption is a good thing, when it is done by people who are willing to do it right.  It’s just a bit overwhelming to go into it.  A group of folks, like Shaohannah’s Hope can go a long way towards helping adoption work out well for orphans and families. 

4.  Back on getting God’s Word to people, there’s Wycliffe Bible Translators.  These folks work to translate the Bible into the local languages of people without Bibles.  In America, you can do that for profit and it’s worth it.  (Note the ESV, NASB, NLT, NIV, KJV, and so on…)  Other places, we need support to make it happen.  If you want to give to someone you can know, go here and enter account number 200114.  This will support Aaron and Joanna Choate.  Or, give to the “Last Languages Campaign.”  The goal is to have Bibles everyone can understand, everywhere, by 2025.  I’ll be 50, and I’d love to see it happen.

5.  The originators of the Advent Conspiracy videos that you’ve seen (click here) like Living Water International as a clean water group. There’s also Blood:Water Mission for similar work.  We turn a tap and get water.  We may not like its taste, so we filter it, chill it, flavor, make coffee or Coca-Cola with it.  We buy it in bottles and in bulk.  People in other places die for lack of it, or because what they have is so disease infected it kills them.  It’s too far to run a pipe from Grand Prairie Water Association to them, but it’s not too far to help somehow.

Other options?

As Southern Baptists, we set aside time at Christmas to push to strengthen our international missions efforts through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. If you’re Southern Baptist, ask around church, because someone should be able to tell you.  If you’re not, ask your own church or drop me an email.

As Christians, there’s the Voice of the Martyrs and the Gideon’s, and many others.  Always do a bit of homework.  The groups named here, I’m familiar enough with, but don’t fall off the map and give your money someplace that does nothing good with it, or that spends 90% on admin and nothing on their work.

Meanwhile, have a happy Thanksgiving.



(note: I receive no form of kickback from any group mentioned here.  If you want me to get a kickback, tell me what you want to order from Amazon.com and I’ll email you an affiliate link to the item that will pay me!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Audio issues

I’ve just become aware that there may be some audio issues related to the direct links to the sermon audio.  Try to right-click it and choose “Save file as” or subscribe to the podcast and use iTunes or another podcast software for it.

These issues exist because my entire budget for web existence goes into the annual domain name registration costs.  Why?

It’s not that the registration is expensive.  It’s actually quite cheap.  It’s because the web stuff isn’t exactly revenue-generating, so I don’t expend a lot on it.  I have real work that I have to do keep up with, so the web stays a side-line for now.

Anyway, if you have any other trouble, let me know.



Book Review: On this Day in Christian History

Book review: This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan

My next book for Booksneeze is On This Day in Christian History by Robert J. Morgan.

On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes

This book is given in the format of a daily devotional book. There are 365 short stories from the past 2000 years of church history. There are a few historical people, such as Martin Luther, that are mentioned more than once, but for the most part, there is wide diversity in the stories mentioned.

Now, certainly, there is no possible way for any of these one-page synopses to cover the full detail of each life presented. For example, Dietrich Bonheoffer's life is summarized and presented on November 9th, the anniversary of infamous Night of Broken Glass in Germany, when Hitler truly uncovered his evil intentions towards the Jews and Germany. I've just finished Eric Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer, and can assure you it takes more than a page to cover his impact on the church at large.

However, as an introduction to the vast scope of Christian History, this is a good start. There is also no whitewashing of history in this book. The author has chosen stories that show both the good and bad moments in the history of the church, although he has definitely picked more of the good moments than the bad.

An observation to note is that, as it is really not possible to present history without commentary, Morgan's viewpoint on the Protestant Reformation is obvious, as well as a willingness to be critical of those moments and people over the past 2000 years that he does not feel carried the name of Christ well. I would say that I find myself generally in agreement with him, although some in the Catholic tradition may not find some of those moments as inspirational.

I would also recommend that this book is not just good for a devotional use, but for any one desiring to have a daily reminder of all that has gone before us as Believers today. The short introductions to individuals and events would fit excellently with a school, homeschool, or church setting. I'm seeing it as a great resource to assign more in-depth study to students from!

I know I've recently reviewed another devotional book that was also good, and this one is as well. Especially for the history lover in your life. Well, if they're too much of a history lover, it will be a bit of a “devotional book fail” for them as it was for me. I couldn't imagine only reading one page a day, so I read the whole thing. Next year, I'll take it a day at time!


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading the Bible for Fact

Hebrews  13:19 –->And I urge all the more to do this so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

I finished reading Hebrews this morning, and this verse struck me.  Why?

Because it’s a clue to the identity of the author of Hebrews.  You see, when you read chapter 13, you see that Hebrews was written by someone that knew Timothy, and that at the time, Timothy was apparently in prison, so that starts showing when it was written, and then….

This is one of the dangers of Bible reading for me.  I tend to read the Bible and get distracted by facts and fact-questions. 

I’m not saying the Bible doesn’t contain facts, nor that facts aren’t important, but when we read Scripture, we should be reading for truth more than mere facts.

For example:

The Exodus:  Which is more important?  That God reached down into history, took the slaves that were the Hebrew people, and delivered them miraculously, and made them into a nation or the name of the Pharaoh, the date, or the exact location of the Red Sea Crossing?

Fighting Goliath: 4 cubits and a span or 6 cubits and a span? Bigger than David is what truly matters, delivered by God is what matters.  The principle that the people wanted someone to fight their battles, wanted a king for a guaranteed fighter, and still when the battle is joined, the king doesn’t fight, but rather God brings a deliverer, as He had been doing, that’s what matters.

I am not saying that we don’t recognize the historical truth of the facts in Scripture.  There really was: a worldwide flood, a big boat, Adam and Eve, and so forth.  This is not a statement to exchange inerrancy for symbolism, nor real analysis for allegorizing everything. 

I was just reminded this morning that facts don’t change lives.  Jesus Christ changes lives.  If I could prove the author of Hebrews or show you the Ark (either of the covenant or Noah’s), you still need the Cross to be saved.  You still need the Holy Spirit to lead you.  I do too.  All the factual knowledge in the world does not save you, rather the faith that the facts matter and that God will save.

So, while there are facts to know, and the facts underneath the truths are important, don’t bog down in them.  And certainly don’t spend all your time chasing the facts to the detriment of your faith.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Yesterday, I went to Wal-mart to buy milk.  I have some friends who are blessed to have a local dairy farm from which they buy milk, but we go to the Wal-mart.  I have a few observations from the trip to share with you:

1.  Motion-sensing baby dolls have got to be this year’s most annoying toys.  Seriously, there should be a warning label on that aisle, especially since it’s not even right with toys.  And how are those going to work with a kid rolling over at night? That’s going to set off a whole new set of problems.

2.  I have some serious questions about a poultry section that features ground turkey, turkey breasts, whole turkeys, and turkey necks.  No turkey legs, wings, or other parts of the turkey, but the neck?  Seriously?

3.  If sausage is made from the remains of pigs that can’t go into anything else, why is it as expensive as bacon?

4.  All-in-one kits seem to never actually contain all that you need for something.  For example, as the new holder of a fishing license, I need stuff to fish with.  However, the marketers have no faith in my fishing ability, because they will sell me an all-in-one kit of rod, reel, tackle, line, and lures.  There is no: stringer or fish scaler.  You think I can’t catch any?  Hah!

5.  I also recently acquired a hunting license, because I’d like to both try my hand at it and provide some meat for the family.  While the cost of processing a dear is not cheap, it is less than the cost of buying a comparable amount of beef.  However, I am not buying gallons of whatever that stuff is on aisle 43 (or whatever number).  If I can’t get a deer, then I can’t get one, but I am not smelling like that!

6.  Wal-mart makes it extremely easy to load up a cart with stuff, and yet impossible to buy it.  Seriously, train your cashiers.  Hire enough of them.  Provide them the support they need, and then expect them to be fast.  Or even medium.  Yet, without enough CSM’s or enough checkers, they can’t be much faster on their own.

7.  Patience will pay off: we want a gravy boat.  (It’s a thing to put gravy in to serve from, rather than ladling it from the pot. It is not something to float across gravy and fish for sausage chunks.) 2 months ago, Wal-mart had pretty ones for $15.  The same ones are now $7.  When they finally hit the clearance aisle, I’m guessing after Thanksgiving, they’ll be about $5.  Then I’ll buy one.  Meanwhile, we’ll ladle gravy out of the pot.  It’s easier to keep it warm that way anyway, and it’s saving $10.

Have a great day. 



Monday, November 15, 2010

Hebrews 12:4

"In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." Hebrews 12:4 (bold emphasis added)

Thoughts on this?

First response:  The elimination of sin's power does not require the shedding of my blood, rather it was accomplished at Calvary through the shedding of Christ's blood.  When He died on the cross, the power of sin to destoy forever was, itself, destroyed.  Sin can still wreck an individual life, but sin has no power over us for eternity anymore.  So, I shouldn't be resisting to the point of shedding my blood, and I can see this verse as reminding me to be thankful for that.  It's the glory of God's grace that, in resisting sin, I need not shed my blood but rather acknowledge the power of His blood.  However....

Second response: Jesus commanded his followers that if their right eye causes sin, pluck it out.  While we have softened that to believe He was speaking metaphorically, I see Hebrews speaking to our weakness in resisting sin in our own lives.  It's easy to just give up and give in to the sinful nature we still carry, rather than strive to allow the image of God in us to be what drives our actions.  We have a hard time resisting to the point of inconvenience, much less to the shedding of blood.  Really, most Christians, especially Christians like me, at ease in America, aren't falling into what we'd call 'big sins' but rather into 'little sins' like gossip or gluttony, bitterness or self-centeredness.  And we cover them up, excuse them, and in fact spend almost as much time and effort, if not more, excusing our sin than it would take to eliminate.

We are so quick to write it off as our weaknesses or frailty, and in fact, we haven't resisted to the point of shedding on our blood.  We haven't done anything truly difficult in our obedience.  Now, I'm not advocating bloodletting or any other self-abusive behavior to fight sin.  I do not believe that God would have us become self-flagellants, but rather that we are without excuse for the personal disciplines it takes to reduce the sin in our lives.  If you need to get up 30 minutes earlier or eat one less donut or just simply walk away from a gossip, then do it!  It's not like your shedding blood.

Third response:  There is sin in this world, and it stands in opposition to God's people and the work God has called us to do.  Sin is what leads to the persecution of the church, and to the world's attacks on Christians and Christianity. Many of us resist to the point of, well, not much.  In America, we might resist to the point of embarrassment or inconvenience, and a few situations have seen us resist to the point of job loss, but in most of American culture, there's no resisting the world's sinfulness to the point of the shedding of blood.  In many places, resisting the world does result in Christians shedding their blood.  The point here is that I think the audience of Hebrews was beginning to waffle a bit in their faith and commitment because it was troubling them, but they hadn't faced real problems yet.  We're the same way right now.  At some point, the world will demand our blood because of their sin.  Not because our blood will pay for their sin (see point 1.  Jesus' blood paid for it!) but because, like Cain, they are agitated with our worship of God, and convicted of their sinfulness.  What will we do then?  Will we waffle?

Let us prepare our hearts to resist sin, to the point of shedding our blood.  Whether that's by disciplining our own lives or acknowleding that, as we are crucified with Christ, we are already dead for this world.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sermon Outlines 11-14

Here are today's sermon outlines.  Audio links are here:

Morning Sermon: John 3:15-21

Evening Sermon: Exodus 4

Text: John 3:15-21

Theme: Judgment

Date: November 14 2010 AM

Location: FBC Almyra


  1. Judgment is coming

    1. v. 18-19

    2. We tend to think of judgment as something that is 'coming'

    3. However, we see here that it is not that judgment is presented as accomplished

    4. It is not that God has put off judging the world

    5. Rather it is that judgment has happened

    6. And all people are guilty

      1. That they love darkness rather than light

      2. That their deeds are evil

  2. Judgment is not optional

    1. v. 17

    2. Without the coming of Christ, judgment would be the only thing possible

    3. Our loves and deeds have been offensive to the Holy God of the universe

    4. This is the sin that sends to eternal judgment: v. 18: not believing in the Son of God

      1. No other sin condemns you

      2. No other sin cannot be forgiven

  3. Judgment is escapable

    1. v. 16-17

    2. God sent His son that the world might be saved

    3. God gave His son that the world might not perish

    4. God gave His son that the world might have eternal life

  4. Judgment will be terrible

    1. Notice the terms

    2. Judgment:

    3. Saved:

  5. What are you going to do about it?

    1. Will you accept the offer of salvation that is presented to you?

    2. Everyone in the world needs to accept the offer

    3. The blood of Christ is sufficient for all of us

  6. Since the blood of Christ is sufficient for all who believe....

    1. Stop acting like it's not enough for you

    2. Stop acting like there's not enough for anyone else

    3. Share the news....here and beyond


Text: Exodus 4

Theme: Dealing with your weaknesses

Date: November 14 2010 PM

Location: FBC Almyra

  1. Picking up where we were

    1. Moses is on the side of a mountain, listening to God

    2. So far, God has told Moses to go to Egypt and:

      1. Take the people out of Egypt

      2. Tell them that “I am who I am” sent him

      3. Plunder the Egyptians (3:22)

    3. God has also told Moses that:

      1. Pharaoh will not let the people go

      2. The people will go anyway

      3. The people will not go empty handed

    4. Recognize that the Exodus is the showing of God's greatness among the nations

  2. Moses is now telling God he doesn't want to do it

    1. First: what if they don't believe what I say?---miracle of the staff and the hand

      1. People will often doubt when we say we think God has spoken

      2. Show them the power of God

        1. First greatest miracle: not a snake or a hand, but a changed life

        2. Then: the work of God in other lives

    2. Second: I lack the skills to do this! ---the provision of Aaron

      1. There are none of us with all of the skills to carry the Gospel everywhere

      2. So, God provides us with each other to fill out our mix of gifts

      3. Focus on what you can do more than what you cannot

    3. Third: I just don't want to do it.

      1. What has God commanded?

      2. What has He done for us?

      3. Why can we not obey?

Hebrews 11:29

Hebrews 11:29:

The faith of the Israelites contrasts with the faith in false gods of the Egyptians, and we see that the waters overwhelmed the Egyptians.  Can you imagine?  The Egyptians must have been sincere in their belief, at least in their belief that they must obey Pharoah, whether or not they also believed in any other god before them.  He was the leader, the commander of the army, and a descend of the gods.  And truly, if this God of Slaves could split water, then their gods could hold it back, right?

Or perhaps the Egyptians looked and beheld a natural process that they had no doubt would endure?  Recent years have seen a resurgence in explaining the miracle events of Scripture (and other religions) with a natural event.  It's an attempt to address that the historicity of the events is likely, but to retain an anti-supernatural belief system.  The Egyptians come to the Red Sea, (Reed Sea is also what the port of Solomon at Ezion-Geber was on, and it's on the Red Sea near Aqaba or Eilat) and the Red Sea has split.  They've heard this can happen, and it's no big deal.  There's no deity involved here, just a long wind, and shallow pool, right?

Either way, the Israelites are facing the biggest physical obstacle they've seen, and they are facing it fearfully hoping that God is on their side.  That's another angle on this.  Hebrews presents the Israelites as full of faith as they passed through.  Go read Exodus 13-15.  Are they really that excitied about this?  No, they aren't.  I'm seeing here that sometimes faith in action looks about like obedient desperation.  Had the Lord God told Israel to do something else, like tunnel or turn and fight or build boats, I'm sure they would have preferred it.  When you read the Exodus account, they didn't come and think, "Oh, no big deal, the sea will part."  They were afraid.  They had been obedient to this point, though not always with enthusiasm, and they were here, and trapped.  They feared God had brought them out to die, and I hear the skepticism rising when they confront Moses.

You don't hear it?  Did God bring us out here to die?  Does God hate us?  Did He really speak to you, Moses? Do you know what you're doing?  Is God even real? After all, this seems like a horrendous plan to me!

Yet this was His plan.  The Israelites went forward, probably more in fear and desperation than in anything else, and afterwards are remembered for their faith.  It is not that we take on great goals in our obedience in hopes that we are remembered for our faith.  It's that, whether out of fear or desperation, we obey God.  We pass through the strangest of circumstances, and we are found, later, to have been faithful.

We find, at the end, that our trust was in the right place.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This morning…

A few thoughts about Veteran's Day....

I let Veteran's Day go by without any comment this week. A few years ago I did a special post about being grateful on Veteran's Day, and just last week I commented on being grateful for the Veterans that allowed us to be able to go to the polls and vote in peace.

I didn't post anything about veterans because I just don't know what else to say. That I walked to work in peace this morning is because of the sacrifice of veterans. That I communicate in English is because of veterans. That I freely get to lead a church, openly, only locking the doors at night to protect the stuff, rather than locking the doors during meetings for protection from an oppressive government, comes from the sacrifice of veterans.

Now, I gladly acknowledge that our rights come from God. Even Jefferson acknowledged that, and he barely believed in God. However, the freedom we have to openly exercise those rights has come from the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of lives lost in combat, and millions of lives spent in uniformed service.

How does thank you even begin to cover it? For the fathers who never returned, or even for the ones who missed days, weeks, months, and years? For the mothers who missed the things they held dearest so that the rest of us could enjoy those same things?

There just does not seem to be justice in sitting here, comfortable in my bunny slippers, and saying off a quick thank you. However, that's all I've got.

So, though it's a day late, a dollar, and a lifetime debt, short, Thank You.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review: The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask

The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask: (With Answers)


This book is the first I've had the opportunity to review for Tyndale House Publishers, and I'm glad for the opportunity. This was a good read.

The book addresses some of the moral and spiritual issues of our days in America right now. It summarizes these issues by presenting common questions and then developing both the questions and some suggested answers.

I found this to be a good read. Mark Mittleburg takes the approach that we as Christians do not need to be apologetic for our beliefs, nor that we need to hide or seclude them, but rather that we should be prepared to explain and defend them.

The basic format of the book consists of an introduction chapter, then chapters based on each of the questions presented. There is a concluding chapter that provides a basic summary. The questions presented range from moral issues such as abortion to issues of the trustworthiness of Scripture.

One of the key strengths in this book is what the author calls making a positive argument. By this, he's referring to the idea that we need to not only defend against questions, but also go a step beyond by asking questions of our critics. For example, when questioned about how we can believe the Bible when it is supposedly full of contradictions, ask “Which contradictions?” Then, go on to provide not only answers to those, but also demonstrate the evidence of the trustworthiness of Scripture above other religious writings.

Also included with each chapter is a discussion guide. This addition helps with the idea of using the book as a group study.

In all, I'd highly recommend this book.

I received this book in exchange for the review from the publisher.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hebrews 11

By Faith

11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

I'm reading through Hebrews, and I've come to Hebrews 11 in my morning Bible study.  Many Christians know this verse especially, but also are familiar with this whole chapter.  I wanted to just comment for a moment here:

1.  Assurance: this is trust that bears the fruit of action.  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and we act as if the hoped for is realized.  I believe it was C.S. Lewis who commented that the Christians that have been the most useful in this world were firmly planted in the next world.  This assurance leads to action, not to pondering. 

2.  Things hoped for: not just 'stuff' things, but rather the ideas and concepts of eternity, the 'things' God has promised.  It's a generic word in Greek that translates roughly to 'things' without the connotation of 'stuff' from America.

3.  Conviction: again, this is a word that shows action should be happening, not just contemplation.


In all, we should take from this not that contemplation is bad, but rather that contemplation should lead to decision, and decision leads to action.  Let your faith be shown in what you do as much as what you think or say. 

Sermon Outline from Nov 7

Text: John 3:1-7
Theme: Knowledge isn't enough
Date: November 7 2010 AM
Location: FBC Almyra
I. Nicodemus
1. Religious
2. Educated
3. Confused
4. Lost
II. Many of us have been these things before!
1. Raised in church?
2. Smart---at least in what matters to us.
3. Confused---what will save us?
4. Lost—without Christ
III. What did Nicodemus need?
1. The truth:
2. He needed to understand that:
1. Nothing about us guarantees heaven
2. It will take the work of the Spirit of God
IV. What do we need?
1. The Truth
2. We need to understand that:
1. Nothing about us guarantees heaven
2. It takes the work of the Spirit of God
V. What else?
1. Nicodemus expected that God would work only within Israel
2. The Lord Jesus Christ pointed him to a better reality:
VI. Verse 8: The wind blows....the Spirit moves
1. We as believers are the work underneath the movement of the Spirit
2. We cannot expect to restrict God's work to our own:
1. Preferences
2. Predictions
3. Preparedness
VII.Are you:
1. Born Again and from Above? Are you trusting in Christ as your salvation?
2. Behaving as directed by the Spirit?
3. Believing that God will work through you in the world?


Audio link here.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hibbard Standard Time

“The times change we change with the times”---Sir Humphrey Appleby

It’s the time of year where, here in America, we mess with everyone’s heads and change the clocks again.  Back in the Spring, we moved the time setting so that we were an hour ahead of the sun, and now we’re going back to being in sync with the daylight.  We supposedly saved some daylight in the process, but it doesn’t work enough to power solar stuff at night….anyway.

Officially, we change the time at 0200 Sunday, but I doubt anyone stays up to change their clocks at that point.  Most of us are so computerized these days that it will happen while we sleep.  However, manual changes are usually done right before bed.  At least by most folks.  This, however, can cause some chaos with your Sunday.  For many people, it’s not that big of a deal.

A few years ago, though, our family was involved in a commuting pastorate---we lived in Mississippi (in a house we would love for you to buy right now!) but I pastored in Northeast Arkansas.  It took being well-coordinated on Sunday mornings to make the day work.  We were sitting around Friday night and it clicked: Why wait?  We had nothing Saturday that we couldn’t just make sure we were aware of the time difference, and that would give us the whole day to adapt, and we wouldn’t forget.

Ever since then, time change weekends typically involve a day or so of Hibbard Standard (or Hibbard Daylight) Time.  For example, we “fell back” this morning, and will spend all day an hour behind everyone else.  This is actually beneficial, because the Arkansas Razorbacks play at 6:00 Central Time tonight, and the game would not end before bedtime for the kids.  However, on Hibbard Standard Time (HST), they start at 5, and the kids don’t go to bed until 8, so barring any major lightning delays, we’ll be on espn3.com watching the game!

Basically, for the day, we’ll have to be aware of our time difference, but we’ll live just an hour off the people around us.  We will take responsibility to make sure that we interact appropriately, such as realizing that the local post office closes at 815 HST, and so we won’t get that package mailed today!  It works for us, besides the fact that for us, today the time is right on: noon is when the sun will be overhead.

All it took for us to get to this point was for us to realize that we can live our life a little off-center from the rest of our culture.

And if you know I’m a preacher, you see where this going, right?

In what ways are we living synchronized with our culture?  In what ways do we have to do this, and it what ways do we not have to?  Not just on things that are unChristian (those should be non-negotiable), but in things that we can claim are ok, but just become a bit of a trouble?  Are there ways that we should, perhaps, detach from the times, just a bit?

Or are we so caught up changing with the times that we hardly notice what is happening to us?



Friday, November 5, 2010

Re-arranging things

As we were out taking care of some errands Thursday, my phone buzzed with a little warning.  It was the weather app I have for my Blackberry, and it was telling me that we had a “Freeze Warning” for the next couple of nights.  Now, I have the weather app on my phone to wake me up in case of a tornado outbreak, but to the phone, a “warning” is a “warning” so it dutifully started making noise and blinking at me.

So, after considering the implications of a freeze, we came home, and finally tackled shuffling things in the garage so that both cars can fit in there.  It’s been on my list for, well, the whole time we’ve lived here, but it just hasn’t been that critical.  However, when you’ve got two vehicles with more than 150,000 miles on them, weather protection is a good idea.

Meanwhile, in the process of rearranging, I found my hedge clippers, a missing battery charger, and a few other miscellaneous items that I couldn’t find, and had begun to suspect Almyra had some thieves with a bizarre set of theft desires.  I’m glad to report that this isn’t the case, rather I just misplaced things in the move.

Now, both cars are in the garage.  We’re working on the planned goal of giving away all of the too-small bicycles.  We do still have a purple bunkbed to pass on, as I am not sure if the friends from Alabama that wanted it, but just changed jobs and don’t own a truck probably can’t get it.  (If you’re headed to Bama anytime soon, specifically Jacksonville, and want to drop off a bunkbed, send me a message!)  It’s not totally perfect yet, but the garage has made some progress.

It’s actually a pretty good picture of life.  What?  Our lives are a garage?

No, but our lives are ordered (or disordered!) based on urgency.  Urgency is driven by what we value.

For example, I value the opportunity to sit with my family with light and heat and eat meals.  So, I need a certain amount of finances.  And if I have to expend my finances to repair/replace vehicles that would have frozen and broken down in the winter because I didn’t put them in the garage, well, now that’s a problem.

So, my values that rate my family highly required that I tackle (with much help!) addressing the garage situation with urgency.  When it was just about finding a hedge trimmer, it wasn’t urgent.  Why?  Sculpted hedges aren’t valued in my life.  Not at all.

In life, what we value should become what drives our actions, and sometimes that will require us to act with a driven urgency, even in tasks we aren’t particularly fond of, like cleaning a garage.  It’s not that there aren’t other things to do, even important things.  Rather, it’s that there are items and tasks that must be taken care of with marked urgency because of what we value.

This applies to life, to politics, to churches.  Really, to most everything.  If your political values prefer certain issues to others, you will urgently support a candidate even if they disagree with you in party or other, lesser issues.

In our churches, and in our Baptist cooperative work, the question that we must often ask is this: what do we value most?  As Christians, we should value most what our Lord Jesus Christ values, and then our actions should be of marked urgency in doing whatever will best accomplish those values.

Even if it means that dishes go unwashed so that garages be rearranged.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thoughts on Voting

Well, we voted today.  It was completely peaceful, there were no protesters or threats of violence for voting.  In fact, we got a piece of divinity made by Mrs. Martha Ann and some of Mrs. Susan's chocolate cake just for voting. (Actually, I think we got those because of being the pastor and family, but we got them at the polling place.)

It was smooth, easy, and relaxed.

So, to the 1.5 Million Americans who died in uniform for our freedom, to the 2 Million more who wear the uniform today, and to the countless millions that served proudly, honorably, and have moved on to other things, from the Hibbard Family, we say Thank You.

From the bottom of our hearts.

Doug, Ann, Olivia, Angela, and Steven.

Book: Worship in an Age of Anxiety

  This week, I'm wrapping up reading J. Michael Jordan's Worship in an Age of Anxiety . This isn't an assigned review, but a boo...