Wednesday, June 30, 2010

VBS Egyptian Style

The measures one takes when called Pastor. I'm rocking my 70's style in Green and Gold, and a little Adam Lambert with my "Egyptian" guyliner.


Once the boys saw me with my Egyptian face, it started atrend. All but my son, who would simply say, "That's OK for you, Girly-Man, but I ain't wearing any!"

Full updates on VBS here:
Patty's VBS Updates

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Inconceivable Glory Of Fish Vomit

A post from July 2008, it is an interesting re-read for me, and is where the name of this Blog came from.

The Inconceivable Glory Of Fish Vomit

Sunday, June 27, 2010

VBS And The Prince Of Eygpt

So Bible school starts tonight and I am playing Joseph, the Old Testament hero and Jewish slave turned Egyptian prince. A quick refresher:

Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, and he showed it openly and with contempt. One time he had a dream about his brothers falling at his feet, and he actually bragged about it to them! This was no casual conversation mind you. He was boasting. "I’m daddy’s favorite, I have the coat of many colors (spelled R.O.Y.A.L.T.Y.) and one day you will all be in submission…" The brothers had had enough. They threw Joseph into a pit, sold him into slavery, took the coat and dipped it in animal blood, and told Jacob that Joseph was dead.

Now Joseph had what we would call a really bad day! He woke up a king and went to sleep a slave. Why was Joseph, one of the greatest men to ever live, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery? I think there are lessons here. Lessons we as adults need to learn. Lessons about the pits life throws our way. We may not be sold into litteral slavery, but we are subject to spiritual bondage. Check out the rest of the story.

Joseph was sold to a guy named Potiphar, a high-ranking official in Egypt. Now, Joseph was out of the physical pit but not out of the spiritual pit. He toiled as a slave for 10 years or so with Potiphar. Eventually, his looks and his brains led Potiphar to make him the administrator of the house, or chief slave, if you will. Now old Joe was not average, nor was he a plumber. He was a good-looking guy, with a good head on his shoulders, and Potiphar’s wife took notice. She tried to seduce Joseph, and he refused. Eventually she tried to force him into bed and even ripped of his…hmmm...his coat. That boy had coat problems. She falsely accused Joseph of rape, and gave the coat to Potiphar as proof of the assault. Joseph had been a loyal servant to Potiphar for 10 years! He had proven himself, and even been faithful to God by fleeing the seductress! Yet what happed? He is thrown into prison. He was thrown into another pit! Life is just not fair.

Why is it that we go from pit to pit to pit? Why do we work steadfastly, prove our loyalty, and even our devotion, and are still thrown into pits!? It seems so unfair! Well, another decade goes by, Joseph proves himself faithful and loyal, and, check this out, eventually he is made the chief trustee of the prison! Still a prisoner, but over the affairs of the place; once again, the administrator. One day some new prisoners arrive. The baker and wine taster to the Pharaoh. They had been accused of plotting an assassination. The baker and the wine taster were in key roles. Obviously, the baker cooked Pharaoh’s food, and the taster ate some to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. After a few days in the prison, these guys have a dream. They are disturbed. I would think that the death sentence would have been disturbing enough, but they have a dream and freak out! Joseph, the dreamer, says, “Hey! I am your guy! The best dream reader in history!” Well, not really. Joseph says, “Doesn't God alone know the meaning of dreams? Now tell me what you dreamed and I’ll get God’s take on it.” Somewhere along the way Joseph has learned from his twenty some years in pits that “It ain’t about me! It is all about God.”

The interpretations of their dreams come true. The baker in given a long walk on a short pier, and the wine sipper is sent back to Pharaoh. Joseph’s last words to this guy were, “Hey, remember me when you get back to Pharaoh!” And of course, he …didn’t. For two more years Joseph stayed in the pit. The wine sipper eventually remembers Joseph when Pharaoh has a dream. Joseph makes an impression, and because of God he saves Egypt from famine and is made number two in all of Egypt, only under the Pharaoh himself. Eventually, Joseph saves his family, and yes, the brothers fell down at his feet.

Quite a story, but I have never really paid attention to the pits in Joseph’s live before. Joseph was in the pit because he had not gotten where he was going yet. Each pit taught him something, and each pit was a step along the progression. Had he not been in a place to influence Pharaoh, he couldn't have saved his family. Had he not gone to prison, he would not have been in a place to influence Pharaoh. Had he not been at Potiphar’s house, he would not have been in an Egyptian prison. Had his brothers not sold him into slavery, he would not have been at Potiphar’s house. Joseph had some things to learn about himself. But ultimately, Joseph went through these pits so he could save his family. He got where he was going, where God intended him to be. The dream was not so Joseph could be lifted up above his brothers, but to show him he would be as a savior to them.

The pits in my life seem severe to me. I would like to think that I have grown through each one. And I hold out hope that I am not where I am going yet. That there is a place where God wants me to be where I can be an influence to a community of Believers. But through it all, I must remember that no matter how horrible my pit may seem, that Jesus Christ suffered a much worse pit than I can imagine. He took my place in the wrath of God poured out upon my sin. He paid the penalty, the debt that I owed, and in so doing, did not just become as a savior, but He became my Savior. When I think about that, it makes my pit a little more bearable. I hope it makes yours the same.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Half Full Or Half Empty

There is a test out there that everyone is familiar with. Do you see the glass as half full or half empty. If you see it half full, you are an optimist, or so the theory goes. See it as half empty, well then, you my friend are a pessimist. This is a false dichotomy though, because it leaves out a third possibility, the one my analytical, engineering trained mind goes too. The glass is neither half full nor half empty: it is twice as large as it needs to be. I fall into this third category. I am a realist.

So I am preaching from John 8:1, the woman who was caught in adultery. I'm calling it "Stone Casters." There are three kind of folks who were wanting to cast stones that day. I know, most people only pay attention to the obvious ones, the Scribes and Pharisees. They're the ones standing with rocks at the ready. They are accusatory and demeaning to the woman; angry at and demanding of the Savior.

They are the Pessimists. The group that sees everything shaded negatively. No one lives up to the high standards they set, either in church life or personal life. The problem is not their morality or integrity. It is the fact that they cannot meet their own expectations, they cannot live up to their own standards. Now at this point, many of you will say to me (or at least to yourself) that you aren't out there stoning anyone. Really? There are too many examples to effectively exhaust a list in this post, so let's focus in on just one area: church. How many of you are negative ninnies when it comes to all things church related? The choir sung too slow, the preacher preached too long (never said at BDBC), the temperature is too cold, no it's too hot, why can't that single mom control her two kids, why does that...on and on! You say, those are just things I'm feeling. Well, how would you feel if an African-American walked in the back door? That may not fit your situation, so how about this...What if a smelly man with dirty clothes and unkempt hair walked in? Would you talk to him about Jesus, or would you, rock at the ready, ask yourself or neighbor, "What is he doing here?" Cast. "Doesn't he have anything better to wear to church?" Cast. "Why can't he have the decency to at least bath before comes here? Doesn't he realize that this is God's house?" Cast. Hmmmm. Who needs to recognize God's house here?

So the pessimists are the obvious stone casters in this story. But there are two others. Let's look at my ilk, the Realists. Jesus pulls some rationalization on these fellas. They are trying to test Him. Like that has worked for them in the past. Geez these guys were thick! They figure if Jesus says, "Leave her alone." they'll accuse Him of not following the Mosaic Law. If He says "Stone her." they'll blab to everyone of His followers that He is not really a friend of sinners and winebibbers. Jesus just says, "Which ever one of you bozos has never sinned; go ahead and cast the first stone." (That's from the King Steve Version. Not sure if Jesus actually used the word "bozo.") He uses pure logic. See, God is not as interested in our destruction as He is our salvation. But He is also as interested in our holiness as He is His justice. Dilemma. So after some inflection, the pessimists bail-out, starting with the wiser, older generation and dwindling down to the hot-headed youngsters. Where are the stone casters, you ask? The stone casters here are the ones who attempt to use logic and rationalization as a means of excusing their sins. They are not casting their stones at other sinners, but at God Himself. Their favorite verse in Matthew 7:1, judge not, least ye be judged. Now remember that Jesus did not use logic to DEFEND her sin, just to convict her accusers. But these stone casters say things like, "Well, everybody is doing it. Look, you can't condemn me, because you have sin in your past. Judge not..." Listen, the idea here is not for other people to judge you, that's God's job. Jesus called the woman out for her sinful behavior. He even called her a sinner! But He gave her the admonition to "go and sin no more." We have a saying back home, "Don't pee on my boot, and then tell me it's raining." Don't tell God you are justified because every other sinner sins. Instead, ask Him for divine help to overcome the sins in your life.

Lastly, there are the Optimists. Notice the woman. Jesus says, "Lady, where did everybody go? Is there any accusations against you?" (KSV) She says, "No." Ummm. I'm afraid not, sister. She was optimistically thinking that she was OK, but not so. She was still a sinner. Notice again that Jesus confronts her with her sin. See, sometimes we think that we're just fine, thank you very much. "We're at a comfortable place, me and Jesus. We're big buds." The problem is, they're not casting stones at others, and they're not casting stones at God, optimist's are casting stones at themselves. You're familiar, no doubt, with the story about the optimist who fell off a twenty story building. He was overheard around the 10th floor saying, "So far, so good." Optimist are their own worst enemy. Unlike the pessimists, they look around the church and see only the good. The problem with that is that they then lack urgency. Urgency to win the lost. Urgency to make changes so more can be reached or accommodated. Urgency to work and fill needed positions. Urgency to give sacrificially. Their mantra is, "So far. So good." The woman heard Jesus tell her that He didn't condemn her. And what a wonderful thing that is. However, true discipleship is more than being forgiven and following the Master. It is about following His example; striving to live up to His standard, and how many optimists even attempt to do that?

Three stone casters. We all hit one of these categories. But how much are we willing to learn, grow, and journey to be like Christ?

Honor and Duty

"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?" - William J. Bennett in a lecture to the U. S. Naval Academy, Nov 24, 1997

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blago calls Obama ‘hen-pecked’

OK. This may be a cheap shot, but somethings are just too funny to pass up. If you haven't yet, then read my comments on Fail To The Chief and Obama hen-pecking the Millitary. Ahhh. Karma.

I Didn't Come To Take Sides, I Came To Take Over

I have been preaching through Hebrews 11 on Wednesday Nights for several weeks now. I am finally starting on the last section, about what I am labeling "The Others." Kind of ominous, right? Sounds a bit like a horror story. Well they are the others from the vantage point of little ink afforded them by the writer of Hebrews. First on the Faith Parade of the Others is Joshua.

Specifically, the story of the battle of Jericho is the lynch pin on which Hebrews 11 places Joshua's entrance into the Hall of Faith. And it did take tremendous faith to follow God's plan.

God: "Hey Josh. Here's what I want you to do. Go walk, check this out, around the city! They'll never see that one coming. Ahhhh. Then go home."

Joshua: "OK. Alright! Ummmm, listen. I know you're God and and the Lieutenants here were thinking of a more traditional approach. A good old fashion siege type, know...battering rams, catapults, that kinda stuff."

Isn't this the way we are? We ask for God to reveal His will, and show us His plan, but we do our own thing anyway. The story of the Battle of Jericho doesn't actually start in chapter six. No, it starts with a confrontation Joshua has back in chapter 5. The Israelites were camped near Jericho, waiting to start the campaign, when General Joshua has an encounter with a foreign soldier. Here is the scene from the ESV, the Scripture in Blue, my comments in Black:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand.

So Joshua sees a soldier, not Jewish, not Jerichoish, err, Jerichoese, Jerichoian, anyway, so he figures he is with another army. Joshua doesn't want to get in the heat of battle and realize he has another enemy on his flank, so he approaches the soldier for a treaty summit.

And Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us, or for our adversaries?" And he said, "No."

Just "No."? That really wasn't a yes-or-no kinda question. Either you is or you ain't. In essence, He says, "Neither." Then He tells why.

"I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come."

Woooo! That's an Amen verse! You have to read that last statement with the right emphasis. "Now I." Say it with me "I." Again, "Now I have come." "Now I'm here, Joshua."
We see in the last statements made by the soldier that it is a pre-incarnate appearance by Jesus, what we call a Christophany.

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, "What does my lord say to his servant?" And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, "Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

Notice the "Take Thy sandals off" comments. Have we heard that before...thinking...thinking. Oh, yeah. God said it to Moses at the burning bush.

Here is the deal. Joshua is planning an attack. God wants Joshua to do it His way, not the world's way. So Jesus pays old Josh a visit. Joshua says, "Hey, big boy, which side are you on." And Jesus says, "Joshua, I didn't come to take sides. I came to take over!" And he did. And the Israelites won the battle.

I want to leave you with this thought; having faith is allowing God to take over. It is a willingness to trust God to the point that you risk everything because you believe what He has told you. When the world seems to heavy too bear, Jesus says, "I'm not here to take sides. I'm here to take over!"

When you face an obstacle that has walls so thick and so high; when you see a barrier to your goals that can derail all of your plans; when the battles seem hopeless; those are the times to trust God even more.
Put God first.
Never look back.
And go circle your Jericho's and shout with all that is with-in you, because "the LORD has given you the city."

Remember that God took the city of Jericho. All Joshua had to do was possess it. Likewise, God has given you the victory; just go take it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

St Augustine

At the Fountain of Youth in St Augustine, FL.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fail To The Chief?

So President Obama is supposed to fire General Stanley McChrystal later this week. The General made some less than flattering remarks about the administration in a Rolling Stones interview to be released Friday. (6/25/2010)

Now making public comments about the boss in a less than flattering way is never a good idea. But, hopefully, Gen. McChrystal is a soldier first, and a politician waaaaaay down the line. If we have any hope of Afghanistan not being another Viet Nam nightmare, we must learn the lessons of that war and not repeat them. Primarily, leave the soldiering to the soldiers and the politicking to the lair...ummm...politicians!

If Obama fires McChrystal, HIS CHOICE, after less than a year, for comments made on the fly, we are doomed to failure. The incompetence and lack of decisive leadership only arises in this president when he has been shown a personal affront.

Mr. President, let this warrior lead warriors, something I know your dainty resume knows nothing about, and you lead the pols. Please, Mr President, keep your panties out of a twist for the sake of our fighting men and women. Scold him, read him the riot act, and let him know you're the boss and that he serves at your pleasure! But don't show the world that we are afraid of getting our feelings hurt, and that our warriors are hen-pecked and unable to lead for fear of the political class. That, in my humble but accurate opinion, is what got us in this trouble to begin with.

Monday, June 21, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Let's move from the world of Spiritual things, for just a moment, and talk about things of eternal importance...quarterbacks.

Aaron Murray is our # 1; part-time wide receiver/part-time QB Logan Gray is our # 2; and true freshman Hutson Mason is our # 3. Zach Mettenberger is gone, bye-bye baby, having been summarily dismissed by Mark Richt. (And also banished from Valdosta, indefinitely! Go figure.) Joe Cox is gone, having graduated.............................................................................Sorry. I had to take time out to sing The Doxology.

So our entire future depends upon a Red Shirt, a part-timer, and a true Freshman. Combined, our QB Corps had thrown exactly 11 passes in NCAA Div 1 play, all by the wide receiver in the group. But that's not the worst news! Our # 1 is, well, injury prone. (Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Don't let Urban hear you.) Too late. He's laughing hard enough to cause another heart arrhythmia. Apparently Florida was in a recruiting battle with us over this guy. He is a red shirt, remember. Yeah, well he missed 4 weeks of practice with tricep tendentious. Tricep tendentious!? Dear-Lord-In-Heaven. He is now working on "shoulder maintenance." Yeah, that's reassuring. He was highly recruited after passing for 51 TD's and throwing for over 4k yards in his junior year and leading the team to the Florida State Championship his senior year. He also suffered from a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle. And he's a.... no OUR.... starting QB, and IN THE SEC no less. A dislocated ankle? Come on. Tape that rascal up. Tricep tendentious? Seriously. Rub some dirt on it. A broken fibula? OK, I can see that. But geesh. I can clearly see a serious case of turf toe in this young mans future.

Uhhhmm. Logan. Honey. Don't spend as much time learning to run the routes as you do learning to throw them.

A long season ahead? ****sigh***** Perhaps I was put on this earth to suffer.

The Toy Story Gospel

So we went to see Toy Story 3 this evening and then went to Applebee's for a Father's Day dinner. While I would normally not choose a cartoon, nor Applebee's for such a "special occasion" outing, I wanted to see Toy Story 3 (so did Luke) and I like the price of the theater in Hartsville, SC. Two dollars grants you entrance to see first run movies there, compared with ten dollars in Columbia. And Applebee's and Mickie D's are about your only choices of restaurants in Hartsville. So, once again the cheap-skate ariseth and calleth me forward.

But without digressing, let me give you my quick application. The little green aliens are some of my favorite characters, especially their adoration of the mystical "claw." If you haven't seen the first movie, not much need in reading further, you'll probably be lost.

So the aliens worship "the claw" as their deity. It is one of those arcade machines where a claw drops into a bunch of toys and attempts to grab one and drop it down a chute for the player as a prize. The toys embody their theology in the original movie: "The claw is our master." "The claw chooses who will go and who will stay." They venerate the claw and see it as all wise and all knowing. In one scene of the first movie the claw grabs one of the alien toys. As he is pulled up, the toy beams, "I have been chosen! Farewell my friends, I go on to a better place."

Scarily similar, huh? No, no. Not similar to pretrib doctrine. What are you thinking?! No. Similar to the cultures veneration of anything seen as mystic or spiritual. In our day, as in any other I suppose, people worship out of ignorance. And they will worship anything. But most especially in today's techno-savvy society, we tend to deify anything that posits progress. Paul said to the group gathered on Mars Hill "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." (Acts 17 NIV) He acknowledged the fact that they had a desire to worship something. So much so in fact, that they would even worship the Unknown God, just so they wouldn't risk offending any.

Our culture trusts "progress" in much the same way. We believe that it will take us to that better place, and so there is no need for another god. But if the objects of our worship are machines, they are only as good as the person who is at the controls. It is far better to trust in God than in man-made machines. Progress may take us to the sea floor, the top of Mt Everest, and even to the moon; but progress cannot and will not take us into the family of God and to His heaven. Only a right relationship with the right God can do that.

So don't be like the little green aliens of Toy Story fame. Don't look for the claw to take you somewhere better. Look to Jesus, the Messiah, the only wise God and our Savior. Paul says it best:

"The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn't make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it? (Acts 17 The Message)

No, Paul. It really doesn't.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Y'all

Two things for today, and then off to church and family time after that! First a funny about us guys from a feminine perspective. Enjoy ladies....


Your last name stays put. 
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be president.
You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
You can wear NO T-shirt to a water park.
You never have to drive to another gas station because this one's just too icky.
You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Same work, more pay.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress - $5000; tux rental - $100.
New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood, ALL the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You are unable to see stains in your clothes
Your belly usually hides your big hips.
One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.
You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
You can "do" your nails with a pocketknife.
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives, on December 24, in 45 minutes.
No wonder men are happier
and now a Scripture...
How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children's children Peace be upon Israel! Psalm 128 (NASB)

If you have a father, hug him, call him, love him. If you do not, remember that God is the Father of the fatherless.

Peace and Blessings on you today.

Two Years

It's been two years since I started blogging. I have learned a lot. Met a lot of friends I would have otherwise never known. And, I believe, grown as a writer. So, to celebrate two years of blogging, here is a reprise of that first attempt. Please don't laugh too hard. It is unedited :)

OK. Occasionally, I read a weblog. When I do, it is either Al Molher’s or Wade Burrleson’s (See favorite places.) Until recently. My wife stared to “blog.” So I check out hers everyday, and would encourage you to do the same.

Alright, so much for the blatant advertisement.

I write emails, not blogs. I write sermons—well I used to write them, before God and Clarks River put a stop to that. I write job descriptions now. Whoo boy. Now I guess I write blogs. Who knew that I had a following with my emails. So this I write for my fan base at Annette Winn elementary school. You guys rock!

What I could not understand, but have just begun to realize, is why God did not provide a church for us when we left CRBC. What I have found is that God definitely wants us to learn something about church and ministry.

Here is a big one. What is up with all the plastic in the pulpit? We have visited a lot of churches since moving to Atlanta. Big ones, little ones, and everything in between. What I have noticed is that many preachers have forgotten that they are called to be pastors!

The Bible uses three terms for those who are called to be the “pastor” of a church. Elder (Presbuteros), Bishop (Episkopos), and Pastor (Poimen). We in the Baptist realm shirk the whole Elder and Bishop thing. We will leave the high falut’n titles to the Episcopalians and Presbyterians. Pay close attention to the Greek words in the title.

The term poimen translates literally into Shepherd. Ah, ha. Shepherd. A pastor is to be a shepherd, which is why I prefer the term. You see, a shepherd smells like his sheep. When a lamb is born, the shepherd will hold the lamb in his hands and rub it for hours. Forever after, that man is the sheep’s shepherd. He smells like sheep.

Sheep don’t like plastic, and I’m seeing a lot of plastic in the pulpit. Why can’t these guys see that church members care more about having someone who will sit with them at the hospital, that is just as comfortable talking on the front porch as from the pulpit, and (hello) actually cares more about their lives than they do about great oratory.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have sat in a church lately and watched a preacher stand at the front of the church, waiting to be approached! It makes me scratch my head. Have we come so far that we believe we are an elite group of Holy men? Plastic preachers, preaching from plastics pulpits. Well, ladies and gentlemen, step right up and see a real, live pastor. Or at least, read a real live pastor. Oh, well. I have vented. Check back to find out what I have to say about what God reveals in His word.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gloom, Despair, And Agony On Me

You have no doubt seen the Successories brand of merchandise that offers a beautiful picture and motivational saying with it. But, have you seen the products offered at ?

(My favorite)

(We've all been there)

What's up with the lack of commitment these days? Is it just me, or does apathy seem to be running rampant in the church? Where has all the passion gone? You've probably all heard the story about the man who fell asleep in Civics Class. His professor woke him and asked “Is the greatest problem America today ignorance or apathy?” The man said "I don’t know and I don’t care.”

We have become an I don’t know and I don’t care generation, and it is seeping into the church. Why are we not passionate anymore? Why are we not like Paul who said,
Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 (HCSB)

When did we become like the Laodicean Church? Jesus told them,
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)

Passion is all about heart. The Laodicean church had a Lukewarm heart. "Jesus? Eh, take Him or leave Him." Jesus said that kind of an attitude makes God sick! Others in the New Testament had a cold heart.
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:11-12 (NKJV)
That's not good either, but at least it's better than apathy. Apathy says, it really doesn't matter. You can be half-hearted toward God and that's OK. Which means to irreligious people, that religion is nothing special.  Jesus wants us to have hot hearts. To be passionate about Him and His work, His ministry, His church, and His Word.
And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 (NKJV)

So whatever you do, do it in all passion and with no apathy. God expects us to love passionately, not passively. He expects us to work with commitment, not with compromise. He calls us to action, not apathy. It reminds me of the story of the guy who came to First Baptist Church and sat up front and yelled all through the sermon, "Preach, Preacher, preach!" Finally, after many annoyed looks from the choir and pastor, the head usher approached the man and said, "Sir. Shhhh." The man said, "Oh, sorry. I just got religion." The usher said, "Well, sir. You didn't get it here."

Listen, we don't need to be disruptive in our services. (Although, I preach shorter the more Amens I get!) We just need to be more passionate, less apathetic. Larry Crabb said that "The problem in today’s church is not that we are too passionate about bad things, just not passionate enough about good things." Now, passion is not something we develop, it is something we discover. See, if God gives you a gift, you become passionate about that gift. You either accept that gift and give it back to God by exercising it, or you live with joyless apathy. I don't know about you, but I want to give my passion back to God, and live in the joy of His blessings.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bloggy Family

We are a writting clan I guess. Check 'em out.





The Leigh Boys

Luke, Me, My Dad

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How 'Bout Them Dawgs!

So I know this may seem cheesy and all, but as I was walking from the convention center to the hotel, I get a "How 'bout them dawgs!"

(Now, for those of you with the misfortune of not being born in Georgia, that is like our universal aloha. It works coming or going.)

I had on one of my ubiquitous GA golf shirts, and had received the haling many, many times though out the convention. Currently, I had snagged about two dozen copies of SBC Life for some of my congregants, and was struggling with the load, notebook, Bible, etc. Without even looking up I said back, Aloha (translated into Georgian: "How 'bout them Dawgs?") Please do not miss the suttle variations in diction and tone. And drawl.

I saw a blue suited man walk by out of the corner of my eye, (mind you this is all in the time it takes to have this two sentence conversation) and realize "I recognize that voice." It was James Merritt. Now I listen to him quite a bit on the radio and catch him when I can on TV. What I like best about James is his unabashed loyalty to God's Team.

So I turned and said "Mr. Merritt." Not Dr., not James, not Brother. Nope MR Merritt. I am not sure where that came from. We laughed about it. He told me to call him James, and we spoke for a couple of minutes about the Promised Land. Good times.

Oh, by the way...How 'bout them Dawgs!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last Update 2010

So the motion to release the GCR minutes failed. I voted for the amendment to release certain portions, but voted against the overall motion. The deciding factor was the fact that some poor soul of a whistle blower out there was having a week long heart attack. If certain people were promised confidentiality, they should have it. Also, I just wanted to know more from curiosity than anything else. If someone was promised a quid pro qou, … hmmmm…what to say, what to say…hmmm…what else is new?

So we are getting ready to head out. Back home. No Disney, no Hilton Head, not even a stopover in Charleston. Home to Cassatt, where it is a cool 95’ with a breezy 89% humidity. Orlando is the place of my birth, and I always enjoy it when I visit relatives. But it is 152 degrees outside and the humidity is at least a 1000%. You can see water vapor floating as you swalk down the street. (swim/walk.) So whether it is June or January, Orlando is too hot for Fat Pastor.

Where is this deal next year? Phoenix!? Good Lord! Well, you know what they say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity.” Maybe things will be better in 2011.

(Maybe I’ll reach my goal weight before then)

SBC Udate # 5

So my blog has received some unusually high traffic because of a comment I made about Mac Brunson. Apparently there are some people who really do not like him. I don’t know him, and honestly, the other 51 weeks of the year, don’t really care all that much about him, or others who take prominent roles at the SBC. What you should know about me is that I have a wry sense of humor, and I blog about an eclectic mix of things that pop into my mind. I don’t have an agenda, except getting the excess verbiage out of my head to make room for more important matters. But this one week a year, my blog turns denominational for a bit.

I am a small church pastor, and I have tremendous respect for those whom God has called to pastor churches, big or small. My one, overarching problem with the structure of the SBC, and remember, the SBC only exists for two days a year, is that the large church pastors either a) have a disdain for those called to pastor small churches, or b) they have forgotten from whence they came. I resent being “schooled” by them on church growth strategy. For instance, I lived in Roswell, GA in ’07 & ’08. I drove past Woodstock First more times than I can count. It is in a high density population area. There are more people at Woodstock First on Sunday than the entire population of Cassatt, SC.

Now, before you get all spiritual on me…I know that if God wanted, Beaverdam would be full of people driving in from Columbia, no matter how remote we are. But He doesn’t. Not all churches are called to be Mega. And just because you are not large does not mean you are not in God’s will. There are some people who would never walk into a church so large, just like some would not walk into a church so small. So black. So country. So urban. So postmodern. So _________. Fill in the blank.

God, in His wisdom, made us diverse, because He made people diverse. So, stop schooling me on what I am doing wrong. I will promise you that I may not baptize in a year what you do in a month, but a year from now, my twelve will all still be in church. Will your 400 all be there? In our small church we disciple, mentor, and love new converts through those first months of testing and persecution. We, WE, pastor them. We do not hand them off to staff or laity and hope for the best.

We are, speaking for Beaverdam, a rural church. Drive a mile in any direction and you’ll see nothing but farmland. The closest is a home of a sweet widow, age 90. I buried her husband a few months ago. She is at church every Sunday. Next is her grandson, an SBC pastor who drives 25 miles one way to his church. We are disperse and distant from one another geographically. Yet in a five mile radius are two other SBC churches and one Pentecostal, all vying for the same people.

And then there are the lectures about sacrifice. Sacrifice until it hurts. Sacrifice for the poor lost souls in Africa and Asia. Amen. We should care. We should sacrifice, and more than our dollars, we should sacrifice our tears, our prayers, and our comfort. Yet I wonder what true sacrifices the large church pastors have made. And I don’t mean your child giving up their church snack for missions! When is the last time you had to choose between writing a check to pay the church’s light bill or your salary, and you chose the light bill? When is the last time your checking account was running perilously low, yet you gave $50 to the church’s ministry that feeds undernourished school kids on the weekends? When is the last time your child had to do without more than Goldfish, and they didn’t complain because they knew that God is bigger than stuff? My three children understand sacrifice! And when was the last time you went to the doctor, holding your breath in lieu of a diagnosis because your church can’t afford to pay insurance? Don’t you dare stand upon the stage of my Southern Baptist Convention and lecture me about sacrifice.

And so, when this week rolls around every year, and every year the muckity mucks stand up and bather on about the latest and greatest buzz trend going around, my blog turns decisively more pointed. They write a new book defining missional instead of mission- minded, as if there really was a difference. And when I see what I consider blatant, shameful acts, I write it from my perspective. With my wry sense of humor thrown in for good effect. (That was wry, wasn’t it.) (Of course, so was the parenthetical statement, sooooo)

Now, if you’re even still reading, I said all of that to say this. Yes, I believe that Mac Brunson was playing a game of emotionalism. Having everyone get on their knees, not letting the Holy Spirit drive them there, is playing on emotions. Am I wrong? I have tons of respect for most of the people that spoke at the PC. But I paid money that I didn’t have to spare to come to that conference. I came because it is supposed to be, for me, a chance to get refreshed, renewed, and recharged. Not to be given campaign speeches. Now the preaching was wonderful. I especially enjoyed Andy Stanley and David Platt. It was the GCR ads that bother me. Don’t cheapen the fact that that’s what they were by telling me, it was about the Great Commission. No, it was about a vote that those in charge wanted approved. That irks me. And it really doesn’t matter. The GCR passed, and I’m fine with the fact it did. May God use Southern Baptist to do the work of the Great Commission for another 150 years, or until His Son returns.

Listen, the sun still came up this morning and I still have people who love me. All’s good. God is great. And I’m back to being a writer of eclectic musings. Even if I’m the only one amused!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Patty's Take On The SBC

Welcome To Pattyville

SBC Update # 4

The GCR passed. I think it was about a 60/40 split. There was much debate and I feel that there will be some amount of division for a while. Over all, in the big scheme of things, I think it’s fine. If the short blurbs the members of the committee gave at the beginning of the presentation were all we had heard, it would probably not have been a big deal. Again, the relentless, us vs. them push at the SBCPC was a turn off. One more shame on…Johnny Hunt. Praying for Morris to sleep at night and live with himself. Hey, look. Morris blasted it in his report, so hitting him back is fine. But not in a PRAYER! That’s low rent.

Bryan Wright is our new President. I voted for him twice. (In two elections! :) ) I am happy he won.

We bought a book from LifeWay, David Platt’s new book, Radical. Patty had it signed and is reading it now. I’ll read it later and let you know. I didn’t speak to him, because the pastor of our old church (FBC Shelbyville) was in line. Spoke to him for some time. A really nice guy. His Ed Man , Trevin Wax was signing his book, so I didn’t get to meet him.

I also saw an old friend, Margret Lott. She is the mom of my best friend from elementary school, David. Love that lady!

On a funnier side of things, (at least to me) were the ads for the seminaries. Four had ads showing their school motto, or logo, or a student. One, my alma matter had a picture of Al Mohler and said, God gave you the gift, we help you develop it. Then there was Southwestern. A full, and I do mean FULL, ad with an almost life size picture of Paige Patterson. What did the ad say? Only Southwestern lets you learn from this man. Wow. What an ego.

A good day. A good convention. To Him be the glory.

SBC Update # 3

Heading out to the convention center. Will be there all day, today. I’m too cheap to buy a shuttle ticket. Haha.

Anyway, we usually come back at the noon break, but the kids are going to Universal with Fuge, Patty has her tickets to the PWC, yes plural. She always buys two and gives one away to some lady looking forlorningly at the entrance and knowing the event is sold out. She’s just that way, always trying to make someone else’s day a little better. So I’m going to Mid Continent’s Luncheon. Sothern’s not sold out, but the cheap-skate ariseth and calleth me forward. Mid Continent’s is FREE!

I may be back at the dinner break and will post an update.

Monday, June 14, 2010

SBC Update # 2

The pastor’s conference ends on a very high note this evening. Wow! David Platt was just leaking Jesus all over the place. And when he prayed at the end, then the praise team transitioned into worship mode, well that’s just a little foretaste of what heaven will be like.

It was a great Calvinisticish message, with a great regard to the doctrines of grace. Hats off to David for challenging us. Andy Stanley was the bomb. He hit me right between the eyes, and I believe that every preacher should have to listen to that sermon (talk in his lingo) before taking a church. Al Molher was Al Molher. Deep, profound, and most importantly, true.

Now, for the disappointing aspects of the evening. Again with the GCR. Lord, have mercy. These people are going to drive me bonkers. And shame on Mac Brunson for the fake crying. I mean, really. Dude.
This is NOT a quote, but it is what I heard.
Mac: “I’m not going to pray about a vote.”
Me: “OK, good enough. I’m happy you’re not going to pray for a vote. I hope you pray for wisdom, God’s will, and for the SBC to come out of the vote a healthy convention of like minded churches.”
Mac: “Dear Larrd. Please be merciful to these sinners for not loving and living the Great Commission. Please open their eyes to the truth of Thy great gospel of the GCR. May they repent before it is everlasting to late, or around 2:45 tomorrow. Don’t punish us, your faithful followers, and let us not be persecuted for only trying to please Jesus, and the GCR TF.”

Ok, over the top I know. Listen, I like most of what the GCR has to say, and I am actually pretty sure it will pass. But the blatant, in your face, you’re either with us, or against Jesus, politicking is too much. Ronnie Floyd’s, “I want us to unite.” appeal, that so means, “we can only unite if we’re in favor of the GCR,” is divisive, in and of itself.

Listen, if, IF, the powers that be would have said to David Platt, Andy Stanley, Al Molher, David Uth, Tony Evans, etc, go preach the Great Commission, there would not even be a need for a vote. They were waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more convincing than all of the off-putting GRC promo’s from the Task Force.

We need to be on our knees. But it needs to be about making the main thing the main thing. And what I have heard from both sides is that their opinion IS the main thing. But it is not. Adrian Rogers said it best during the tumultuous years of the Peace Commission. “We don’t have to get along. There doesn’t have to be peace. There doesn’t even have to be a SBC.” Later he said, “If you please Jesus, it doesn’t matter whom you displease. And if you displease Jesus, it doesn’t matter whom you do please.” I’m telling you, the SBC is a convention made up of small churches, ran by a handful of large churches. Right now, the small church crowd wants cooperation above all else. The large churches want their pet projects funded above all else. Jesus wants us to focus upon Him, above all else!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SBC Update # 1

Sunday night and back from the Pastor’s Conference. The GCR is being pushed out front here at the SBCPC. Between preaching events and worship, there are to be special plugs for the GCR TF’s proposal. This includes at two page “ad” featurette on the GCR by Ronnie Floyd in the program. This program is very nicely put together, 8 ½ x 11 book.

Not that politicizing the SBCPC is a new thing. But if the powers that be aren’t careful, they may end up over saturating the market and find resentment votes cast against them. I know it may not sound like it, but I’m on the fence, which is why I hope the recommendations are put forward individually. I like some, hate others. In the interim, I am with a fellow I read the other day who thinks it is a shame that if you disagree with any part of the Task Force’s recommendations, you are made to feel anti-Great Commission. Bah and humbug! I believe it, and try my best to follow it. And here it is!

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

Meanwhile, was blown away by Ravi Zacharias and Tony Evans! GREAT stuff. Especially Tony. If you didn’t / haven’t heard it. You can Find it here, I think.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Billy. My Fireproof Baptism! What an amazing story of God's marvelous grace.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Miracles Will Never Cease

Let's see...It would have been November 1988. I was serving in the US Navy. I remember as if it were yesterday. My face was set and mind made up. I was bucking the "system" and by-George, I was right. Well, in hind sight and 20 some years of Life University later. Maybe not so much.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell what the "it" was. The last time I voted for a Democrat. Now listen, I am not a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. I believe what my daddy taught me, vote for the man, not the party. However, being a conservative- pro-strong defense- pro-life- homophobe, most of the right men in my book have been on the Right. But in 1988, Sam Nunn was chairman of the Senate Arms Committee, and from GA, and so I voted the Big D. In 1991, he voted against George Bush I in the Gulf War, and I felt betrayed by someone who had purported to be "strong on defense."

I have been cautious ever since. However, today I put my trust into faiths hands again, and voted for Vincent Sheheen. (sp?) for Governor. Democrat. Only time will tell. He may not even win the primary. But he has been an advocate for the folks here in this district and so I wish him success.

Oh, one more thing. I would not call MYSELF a homophobe, as I'm not really scared of homosexuals. However, I have read the Bible (see Romans 1-2) and my fear is for their eternal souls.


William, came to know the Lord and was baptised upon his profession of faith.



I don't get to do this enough. I am hoping to get all/more of our baptisms uploaded.

John Michael, The Lord's newest disciple.

That smile is worth it all!

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is with in me, praise His Holy Name.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Learning To Fear The LORD

As father’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the safety of Dad. After all, if daddy is afraid, who are the children to turn to? The writers of the Bible knew this fact. That's why Proverbs 14:26 says, "His children will have a refuge," if Daddy has a "strong confidence." Daddy's confidence is the refuge of his children. Dads, the battle to be confident is not just about us, it is about the security of our children. It is about their sense of security and happiness. It's about whether they grow up fretful or firm in faith. Until children can know God in a deep personal way, we are the image and the embodiment of God in their lives. If we are confident and reliable and safe for them, they will be much more likely to cleave to God as their refuge when the storms break over them later.

So how shall we have "strong confidence"? After all, we, too, are little children, clay pots, weak and broken and battling anxieties and doubts. Is the solution to put on the best show we can and hide our true selves? That will lead to ulcers at best and God-dishonoring teenager-repelling hypocrisy at worst. That is not the answer.

Proverbs 14:26 gives another answer: "In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence." This is weird. It says that the solution to fear is fear. The solution to timidity is fear. The solution to uncertainty is fear. The solution to doubt is fear. But how?

Part of the answer is that the "fear of the Lord" means fearing to dishonor the Lord. Which means fearing to distrust the Lord. Which means fearing to fear anything that the Lord has promised to help you overcome. In other words, the fear of the Lord is the great fear destroyer.

If the Lord says, "Fear not, I am with you, be not dismayed, I will help you," (Isaiah 41:10), then it is a fearful thing to worry about the problem he says he will help you with.

Who are you to fear any problem, when God has promised to help you? So it is prideful to fear problems. And pride is the exact opposite of the fear of God.

So, yes, the Proverb is true and a great help to us. Fear God, dads. Fear God. Fear dishonoring Him. Fear distrusting Him. Fear putting your assessment of the problem above His. He says he can help. He is smarter. He is stronger. He is more generous. Trust Him. Fear not to trust Him.