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Sunday, December 25, 2005

I Ruined Christmas

Yes, I ruined Christmas.

But, let me back up: I hate money or the lack thereof. And I don't think it is the love of money in my case. It's not that I want a lot of nice or expensive things. It's not that I want to buy my way or my friends. No, I don't believe it is a love of money - that root of all evil.

I do hate what the lack of money does to one. It certainly, for one, creates a lot of anxiety about paying the bills, and I'm tired of living with anxiety over finances. Yes, of course, I understand the nature of faith in God and trusting Him to meet my needs, but if I've made choices that have resulted in financial difficulties there are incumbent side effects and that includes the anxiety when the bills begin to mount up faster than the amount in the checking account. And, we don't even want to think too far into the future.

Then, there is the relationship to churches. I want to be able to minister without regard to financial compensation. Unfortunately, when a previous church has not compensated enough to keep up with financial needs, it creates a need to look at that area when dealing with churches. I hate that, so I hate the lack of money.

However, even worse is what it does to relationships. In my case, it has created a tension in my relationship to my parents. They do, I know, want to be helpful, but it does create strain when your parents want to talk with you about money as if you were 30 years younger. And, then the awkwardness when they extend money, as helpful as it is. I do hate the lack of money.

And, then the relationship to one's spouse. It is terrible when the uppermost thought on your mind is (almost) always: what is it going to cost? I am so tired of this feeling. I love my wife. I want to enjoy life with her. I don't like the feeling that I am trying to run her life by questioning every thought, every action, every move with "what will it cost?" Have I mentioned that I hate the lack of money.

And that brings me around to my subject: I ruined Christmas.

I stole my wife's joy. As much as we have been through this year and as much difficulty as she has endured, she in love went and got for me something that she thought I wanted very much. The bright spot of the day was her anticipation of my joyous reaction on opening my gift from her. She was really looking forward to it.

So, we get around to opening the presents and she points out the one for me. I can only imagine what she was thinking as I begin to unwrap it. Then I open the box and pull out the prized item, and ... the first thought that raced through my mind and showed on my face was "how much did it cost"?

I cannot get a "do-over." I cannot go back and erase that picture from her mind. I'm not sure I can even use the gift without her recalling that picture (she has a very good memory).

For my wife, I ruined Christmas and that is not what I am supposed to do. And, I have to tell you that knowing this has ruined my Christmas too. Oh God, please forgive me ...

for I ruined Christmas!

(By the way, if any of you readers have any advice for me, please keep it to yourself. I am beating myself up quite well by myself thank you. And probably the only words that might give me any comfort at all at this point are "you know, I did something stupid like that myself once.")

Saturday, December 24, 2005

All Is Well

My wife is scheduled to sing Michael W. Smith's All Is Well at the Christmas Eve Service of First Baptist Church, Toccoa, GA.

The message of the song is simple enough, but it comes into focus when, humanly speaking, all is not well.

When health fails.
When childlessness is assured.
When employment is not in sight.
When finances are inadequate.
When children go into rebellion.
When friends prove themselves unfaithful.
When government leaders foolishly go astray.
When religious leaders fall.
When the world is turned upside down.

Regardless. All, yes all, is well! Christ is born!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Tree

From The Mission of Sisters Baptist Church (Vol. 3 No. 37, December 20, 2005), the weekly newsletter of Sisters Baptist Church, Sandersville, GA comes the following from my friend and former high school classmate, Mark Riner:

"... Well, as we gather around our beautifully decorated Christmas tree this weekend with our families and express giving of our love to someone else, do remember that there was a Christmas tree that was not as colorfully decorated; but decorated nonetheless with blood.

"People gathered around that ugly tree, a tree representing death and yet, that tree -- Oh, that wonderful Christmas tree had gifts upojn it more wonderful than any gift we will find under our trees; gifts of forgiveness, grace, redemption, love, sacrifice, eternal life and more. Yea, it is a CHRISTmas tree. That is all it can be; it is what it is."

Thank you Mark for this wonderful illustration. God bless you, Connie, and family during this season of the year. To you and all readers: Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Lotta Bit More

"Maybe Christmas,
perhaps,
means a little bit more."

- from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carey version)
which I am watching on tv -

Right, right, right!
That is part of the formula.

If only they could acknowledge the other part of the formula -
the little bit more (actually, it's a lotta bit more):

Christmas means Jesus, God with us,
the One who saves us from our sins.

I realize this post is very similar to the previous one, but I was struck by the quote and just had to acknowledge it.

It calls to mind the statement from World magazine that the only major Christmas tv program to get it right is the Charlie Brown Christmas special where Linus begins to quote scripture.

Jesus - the lotta bit more!

Friday, December 16, 2005

It Won't Be Christmas

It won't be Christmas ...

if I don't get that gift I want.

if I don't hear "Silent Night" 12 hundred times.

if I don't get to make gingerbread cookies.

if that special ornament is not on the tree.

if the kids don't make it home for the day.

if, if, if ...

Wrong.

If everything in our lives is going wrong,
If the world was turned upside down,

It would still be Christmas, because ...

Jesus was born - God become man - Incarnate.

That is what makes Christmas Christmas and nothing else.

It won't be Christmas?

Oh, yes it will!

And you
and I
and our circumstances cannot keep it from happening.

God's blessings on you for a very wonderful Christ-season and a God-filled New Year!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Harry Potter

This afternoon I saw the televised version of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" or something like that.

After all the hoopla, I was disappointed that it was such a tame movie. In fact, the phrase that jumped out at me was one that was basically the same as one I have been using regularly lately: "it's all about the choices we make."

Obviously from a theological perspective it is ultimately about God's choices, but on our level, so much of what we get is based on our choices. (This also does not discount the effect on us of the choices that others make.)

For example, my mother chooses to keep pushing herself when weariness and pain would easily dictate staying in bed, but she also pays the price for pushing.

And, in my own life, I have made choices that have affected the life that I live today - some good, some bad.

In fact, there is scriptural backing for this:

"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." Hosea 8:7a

World Magazine December 10 2005

Earlier today I finished the December 10, 2005 edition of World Magazine. There were a couple of articles that I found interesting and worth filing away - besides the articles that are more temporal but also interesting.

One article, "Why December 25?" gives indication that December 25 was celebrated as the day of Jesus' birth prior to the pagan use of that date for their celebration. Something to do with an ancient Jewish belief that major prophets died on either the date of their birth or conception. Therefore, someone earlier on decided that Jesus also died on the date of His conception. Thus, conception on March 25 led to His birth 9 months later on December 25. This article can be found at http://www.worldmag.com/displayarticle.cfm?id=11344 .

Another, "Ugly Things," quotes Socrates as saying that "opinions divorced from knowledge are ugly things." Everyone has opinions but if facts are not involved then basically stupidity is the result. This article is available at http://www.worldmag.com/displayarticle.cfm?id=11345 .

Well, check these and others out at http://www.worldmag.com and perhaps they would appreciate it if you subscribed to the print edition.

Blessings.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Limbo Revisited

Several posts back I discussed the fact that it is no fun living in "limbo." Well, now I really know why.

Just today I discovered that there is, apparently in some Roman Catholic theology, a place called limbo. It seems that it is the place where the souls of babies who die before being baptized go.

Oh, brother!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thank You Father!

A Thanksgiving Prayer:

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Ephesians 5:20 -

Father, thank you:

For my wife, my parents, and all of my family.
For friends and neighbors.
For health and the strength to work.
For my home and all the material blessings you have given.
For financial resources You provide.
For food and clothing.
For air to breath and water to drink.
For weather and the beauty of Your creation.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 -

Father, thank you:

That I do not have a job.
That Donna is in pain and distress.
For in these we learn to rely on You.

For the hurricanes and tornados and earthquakes and other natural disasters.
For in these Your power is displayed, the character of Your people is revealed, the need for You is made evident, and Your people are given opportunity to minister in Your name.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
- Philippians 4:6 -

For these and the many other blessings and events of life, we give You thanks.

And in doing so:
I ask for Your strength, mercy, and grace to be made known for Your glory and honor.
I ask for strength and wisdom for those who minister in Your name in those areas of devastation and hurt.
I ask for Your blessings on those who provide in our time of need.
I ask for Your healing for Donna.
I ask for a job that not only provides my families financial needs, but also provides a place of ministry and service for Your kingdom.

And in all these supplications, I ask that You be glorified according to Your will and Your good pleasure.

Father, I thank You and make these requests in the name of Jesus for Your glory. Amen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Birthday Momma!

Happy Birthday Momma!

First, I must remember that my mother spent right at 9 months toting around my hefty little frame.

Secondly, she put up with all my fussiness and rebellion and terribleness and unreasonableness and ... while I was growing up.

Third, she has seen some of her expectations dashed (see previous post). Although, I hope some of them have been realized.

Fourth, she has to deal with the trials of life that come with her family and herself growing older.

Fifth, (momma, I'll let you fill in all the rest).

But, I wanted you (and everyone else who cares) to know that I love you, not just for what you have done for me, but also for who you are.

I love you and I hope you have (had) a good day all in all (given the disappointments I know it has brought).

Again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA!

Expectations

It seems that everyone expects something of you.

Of course, some expectations are necessary. For example, your employer expects you to perform your job at a certain level. This expectation is balanced by your own expectation that you will be paid for this performance.

But it is easy for us to expect something of those we know ... but are those expectations realistic? Do those expectations just impose our own wishes onto someone else unfairly?

My family - wife, mother, father (I don't really know of any that my sister has - thanks Carol) - expects certain things of me. Boy, talk about pressure. Some of those expectations are for my own good I'm sure. Some of those expectations relate to their dreams of what they want(ed) me to be, and that's not really a bad thing.

Then my neighbors expect things. And my friends expect things. And my associates expect things. Like I said, it seems that everybody expects something of me.

However, in the grand scheme of things, the only expectations that I really need to concern myself with are God's expectations of me. Granted some of His expectations relate to those listed above - things like loving your wife and honoring your parents and being honest and kind. But, if I can keep my focus on His expectations, all the truly important things in my life will be done. That is a tall order all by itself, but the pressure is released when I realize that I don't even have to rely on my own strength to fulfill His expectations. He has promised His help and when I blow it, He even offers His forgiveness.

Expectations ... yes, it seems everyone has them (even I expect things of others - fat chance, right?). So expect away.

Just remember, only God's expectations count.

Postscript:

Wow, I can't believe that I missed the most demanding expectations of all ...

MY OWN.

They really are a tall order and if I can just keep them in submission to God's expectations I'll be doing really well. That is tough!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Misc 11/20

It has been an interesting, albeit different week.

Monday included a call to the doctor regarding Donna's increased pain that set up an early morning CT scan on Tuesday. Good news: the blood clot in her abdomen had dissolved. But, it left the question of the source of the continued pain. Was it the medicine that she had gotten to get rid of the shingles?

Tuesday, in addition to the CT scan at Anderson Medical Center, there was a trip to the doctor to get the results of the scan and then her regular scheduled appointment with her pain specialist.

Wednesday involved some work around the house.

Thursday there was my trip to Atlanta for my appointment with Jon Duncan, music specialist with the Georgia Baptist Convention (http://www.gabaptist.org). I thought it was a good and productive meeting. He also introduced me to Kenneth Keene and Lucretia Jackson in the Church/Minister Relations Department. Afterwards, I meet with Dennis Rogers (a long time associate of mine) in the Discipleship Department. All good meetings. Maybe God will use some of this day's contacts to put together my next assignment in His kingdom.

Friday, Donna and I meet with Steve Ferguson, Associational Missionary/Director of Missions for the Hebron Baptist Association. Also, a good meeting. Steve is married to a girl that I had known many years before when a child at the East Athens Baptist Church in Athens, GA.

These two days have convinced me that the world is shrinking. Maybe I will post on that in the near future.

Today, Sunday, was an odd day. Although, I no longer work for the Sisters Baptist Church in Sandersville, this is where I attended. Singing in the choir was familiar but not doing the children's sermon was odd. And then, instead of sitting on the second pew from the front as a staff member, I went up into the balcony. There I was privileged to run the PowerPoint presentation for the sermon.

Tonight was also interesting. I played the piano for the Jefferson County Community Chorus and combined choirs of Louisville (GA) area churches for the Community Thanksgiving Service at First Baptist Church, Louisville sponsored by the South Jefferson Ministerial Association. Robbie Milam, an accomplished pianist/organist, is the director for this group. The music was tougher than I had played in a while and I made my share of mistakes, but thank you Robbie for giving me both the challenge and the opportunity.

I will also be playing for the Community Chorus for their Christmas program - even more challenging music.

Well, as promised that was miscellaneous for today, Sunday, 11/20.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Limbo

Location, location, location.

At least that what they say is important. Well, I must say that limbo is not exactly the location that I enjoy the most. However, that is where I find myself. One position has come to an end. Another position has not been forthcoming. How do I continue ministry in the time in between? Which direction do I go? How do I spend my time? Do I try new branches of ministry?

Location? Limbo. No, thanks.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What to Look for in any Pastor (Part II)

Finally, the follow-up to Part I.

  • V. godly jealousy for the church
    • A. betrothed to Christ as a chaste virgin
    • B. fear your minds corrupted
      • - away from simplicity in Christ
      • - you put up with the teachings of:
        • a. another Jesus
        • b. another spirit
        • c. another gospel


  • VI. not inferior to "super" apostles (any other pastor)
    • A. though plain in speech or plain spoken
    • B. not inferior in knowledge (study, study, study)
    • C. known by his people
    • D. lowers himself to lift them up
      • 1. preached the gospel freely
      • 2. compensated/supported by others
      • 3. not a burden to them
      • 4. however, don't muzzle the ox - 1 Corinthians 9.7-11 & 1 Timothy 5.17-18
      • 5. God knows his love for them


  • VII. in comparison to false apostles
    • A. do what is necessary to "cut off occasion" from false apostles
    • B. they are deceitful workers
      • 1. like Satan, they are transformed (outer appearance) into "angel of light"
      • 2. their deeds will prove it (Hebrews 13.7)

    • C. the foolishness of this comparison to false apostles
    • D. what the people are willing to put up with
    • E. bold comparison
      • 1. of heritage
      • 2. of ministries
        • a. accomplishments (labors, perils): these are not positive
        • b. care for the churches


  • VIII. rather glory in infirmities (see 1 Corinthians 1.17-31; esp. 27-29)
    • A. humiliating start (though David & Jericho spies were both lowered from windows to escape)
    • B. revelation
    • C. infirmity
    • D. sufficiency of God's grace
    • E. summary


  • XI. it's for you (the church)
    • A. signs of the apostles shown
    • B. not inferior to other churches
    • C. except pastor not a burden
      • 1. by Paul
        • a. seek you, not yours
        • b. spent for you
        • c. love for you
        • d. caught you

      • 2. by associates
        • a. gain for Paul (pastor)?
        • b. gain for Titus (associate)?
        • c. same walk

    • D. no excuses, we answer to God (see Hebrews 13.17)
    • E. do all to edify you (the church)


How do you as a pastor measure up? How does your pastor measure up? How do any of your pastoral candidates compare?

Ahem, what's good for the gander is also good for the goose? How do you as a Christian measure up?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Games

I like computer games. I have the ones that I find easy and the ones that just about drive me nuts. My dad has his favorite games. Even my mother puts together online jigsaw puzzles. And, with the number of games online, it is easy to believe that there are a lot of other people that like games.

Me, I play games for diversion and distraction. It seems safer than a lot of other vices that are out there, but it sure does use up the time.

Being in church work, I know that a lot of people like playing games - that is, the church game variety. And, I'm not talking about church league softball.

Of course there are the non-Christians and their church games. When you visit with them, they can use churchy words. Those who wish to take advantage of the church and its compassion are really the best at this.

Dangerous to themselves are the non-Christians masquerading as church members. They play the game so well that they usually delude themselves into thinking that they are part of the body of Christ. They are also detrimental to the life and work of the church because they really don't get it - how can they understand the things of Christ and the way of the Christlife when they have no part in Christ?

Then there are the Christians who play the games. They really do have a relationship with Christ, but they don't spend time with Him or in His word, so they don't really have a clue as to what it's all about either. Maybe they pick up something from their parents, friends, Sunday School teacher, or preacher some time, but it doesn't always link up to form a cohesive lifestyle change.

But there are also the Christians who know better. Sometimes we do it because it's easier to go along and get along - don't rock the boat. Life seems much easier that way. Even ministers are guilty on this count.

We sure do like games. We even call our existence "the game of life" relating it to a football game or some other such sport. (Don't forget the board game!!)

But, this life is not a real game. It's serious business. The tale end has only two options - one good and one bad (worse than losing a game for absolute sure).

Now I don't want to discount Christian people having fun. I believe even Jesus had fun. He surely played games, sang songs, and laughed and smiled. But you read the words and you realize that it was a deadly serious business that Jesus was about - and I do mean deadly. So, we who follow in His footsteps (or at least try) should realize that it's a deadly serious business this life we live. The choices we make affect not only us but those around us.

So, let's enjoy life. Let's have fun. But let's not live it as if it is only a game.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Miracles of the New Birth

Amazing the miracles of the new birth.

One, that God could through the faith of one coming to Him bestow all the riches of His grace in a moment's time: cleansing, pardon, repentance, peace, justification, release ... (how many more adjectives of the grace of God are part of this miracle).

Second, that God could take one who himself is no better than the other, only already forgiven, only already redeemed, and use the few and poor words that come from his mouth to introduce the one to the Savior.

Welcome, cousin Bobby, to the family of God!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Follow-up: Have Faith in God

Well, a little more limbo reigns in my life. The Sisters Baptist Church called a new pastor this morning: Rev. Burt Parker. He will begin his duties on Monday, November 14. My current position is effectively terminated with his arrival. We continue to pray and seek God's will for our lives.

So, as follow-up:

"Have faith in God,
He's on His throne;
Have faith in God,
He watches o'er His own;
He cannot fail,
He must prevail;
Have faith in God,
have faith in God."

(B.B. McKinney, (c) 1934. Renewal 1962 Broadman Press (SESAC) ARR. Distributed by GENEVOX MUSIC GROUP)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Trusting God

So what does it mean to "trust God"?

I trust God for my salvation. That's based on the promise of His Word.

But, when it comes to the "little stuff" of life, what does it mean to trust God? When things don't go like they ought to, what does it mean to trust God? When we can't pay our bills and no miracle check appears in the mail what does it mean to trust God? When our health unexpectedly fails, what does it mean to trust God? When the car breaks down and you can't replace it or repair it, what does it mean to trust God? When everyone else's life seems to be sailing smoothly, what does it mean to trust God?

Well, things are not going like I expected. One car sits in the driveway and can't be cranked; the other has almost 240,000 miles on it, but, praise God it runs and gets me about 240 miles round trip each week. And God allowed someone to loan us a second car for the time being.

A ministry I expected to last much longer came crashing to an end. Yet, at the right time, a church stepped up (my home church) and created a position for me to serve so that I could pay my bills and so that my insurance would be covered. God opened this door.

Now, as if it was not the regular part of our lives, we sit at the threshold of the future. What does it hold? How will things be taken care of? Trust? Trust God?

God has been faithful, not to do all we desired, but He has been faithful to do what He desired. As we look back, we have not been forsaken, God has not turned His back, our faith has grown. So now we anticipate that our faith will continue to grow as we trust God.

Is it easy? No way.
Does the stomach sometimes turn and churn? Absolutely.
Do the fears flare up? Yes.
But God is good!

"Simply trusting ev'ry day,
Trusting thro' a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all."
(Edgar Page Stites)

Friday, October 21, 2005

To the Glory of God!

To the glory of God!

I am between churches to the glory to God.

Donna had surgery and has pain and discomfort to the glory of God.

We have been unable to have children to the glory of God.

We struggle financially to the glory of God.

How do we view the events and activities of our lives as being to the glory of God? Sure, the good things that happen to us can easily be seen as giving glory to God, but the bad things ... do we view them as being to the glory of God? And what effect would it have on our lives if we saw every event that occured to us as being potentially to the glory of God?

If God is actively seeking to bring glory to Himself, and if He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, then it would be true that those "all things" could lead us (even should lead us) to give Him glory.

These thoughts were, as some will note, inspired by recent readings of some of John Piper's material.

So in all things, for all things, in thought, in deed, in word let us live ...

To the glory of God!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Where Did It Go?

Where did it go? The time that is.

I had big plans for this week. I was going to be home with Donna all week while she did the initial recuperation, so it was the perfect time for a big project. Of course, it was a big project that required several steps to complete and once you started you had to finish. At least every step had to be completed on each part.

So every day this week there were daily events that had to be done. No, they didn't take all day, but did they leave enough time to finish the project if started. I did think of starting this evening on the first step but then I thought I remembered this mornings weather report mentioned the possibility of rain. That wouldn't work, so ... I'll wait until tomorrow.

But then, tomorrow, there are errands to run. And even supplies to be purchased for the project. So I have hopes, but reality sure dashes those hopes.

I also had hopes that a church would reach out and touch me before now. Gratefully (graciously) the Sisters Baptist Church in Sandersville, GA allowed those hopes to be temporarily fulfilled - I could minister, I could work, I could pay bills. But the reality is that this process of being called to serve in a church is a time consuming process. It doesn't eat up days or weeks, but months, if not years. Churches without pastors taking up to 2 and 3 years to find a pastor they feel God is calling to serve them. Pastors/ministers waiting, waiting for the calls and then the questioning, interviewing process of elimination.

Then I think of Don Elbourne and the Lakeshore Baptist Church (not to mention the other many churches and ministers) who were affected by the hurricane Katrina. School going well. The church going well. Ministry being done. Life marching on. And then ... reality. A church scattered, a building destroyed, a school flooded and the reality of life changed overnight. Ministry should continue because in the midst of devastation lives were open to ministry, but where does a minister find his support when his congregation is living all over the country. God is good. Graciously God's people begin to step up. Help and finances begin to arrive. One can see this process chronicled at Don's blog.

So God is good. His grace is sufficient for Don Elbourne and the Lakeshore Baptist Church. God's grace has been and will be sufficient for me and my ministry. We anticipate His provision in the right way and exactly the right time.

As for the project, it may or may not get done, but God is still good. And hope comes as we trust in Him and His grace and goodness.

Where did it go? Well, time slips away. Things either get done or they don't. Most are really unimportant in the grand scheme of things. But hope is there. Grace is there. God is there!

What else matters? So, what does it matter where it went?

What to Look for in any Pastor (Part 1)

Well, last night I took on politics. Tonight, would be just as good for starting to take on theology.

So many churches are looking for pastors - actually I would normally make the case that the scriptural titles are elder or bishop and that pastor is actually a gift and a function of elders - and I could also make a case for churches having multiple pastors (equal, with possibly a first among equals although without power to single handedly affect the livelyhood of any of the other pastors) instead of the unscriptural concept of senior pastor with associate pastors or ministerial "staff." But, given the world we live in and whatever motivates those who serve as "senior pastors," we will simply address the scriptural qualities that need to be found in any pastor - senior or associate.

For this study we turn to 2 Corinthians, a book that can be seen in many ways throughout as addressing the relationship between pastors and congregations. And, for this part 1, we will look first at chapter 10.

In essence the qualities that should be found in pastors are:

I. being like Jesus (seems obvious doesn't), but here in 3 specific ways
  • A. meekness (not weakness - note Jesus clearing the temple, and He was meek)
  • B. gentleness (word study shows this means always doing the right thing)
  • C. bold when necessary


II. willing to wage spiritual warfare for the minds of men
(this can be fleshed out in verses 3-6)

III. inner character not outer appearance
  • A. relationship with Christ (DUH!)
  • B. authority given by Christ
    • 1. for building up
    • 2. not for demolishing

  • C. consistent (whether here or there, always the same person in character)


IV. not comparing with others
  • A. this is not wise
  • B. measure according to God's canon (standard/rule)
    (implication of God given field of service)
  • C. not boasting of another's labors
    • - but ready to enlarge the ministry as the faith of the congregation grows

  • D. always boast in the Lord
  • E. only commendation by the Lord is of any value


If your church is looking for a pastor, compare any candidate against these characteristics. Granted these are high standards and most if not all pastors will fail to live up to them in their entirety, but they are worthy of striving for. If your church is not looking for a pastor, how do your pastors measure up to a scriptural standard? And then, if you are a pastor, are these standards among those you are seeking to incorporate in your ministry?

And this is just Part 1. Hopefully, Part 2 will come soon. God's blessings on you as you seek to follow Him in your own life and and in the life and ministry of your church.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Harriet Miers

Well, I begin a venture into political commentary with today's post.

Judicial activism is not acceptable either by liberals or conservatives. It does seem best to view the Constitution at face value instead of trying to read between the lines, much as one should view Scripture.

Speaking of Scripture, liberal dilution is not acceptable. On the other hand, for conservatives to "dig deeper" to find teachings that are not readily visible, seems to also be a violation of the nature and truth of Scripture.

As to judicial nominees, it should be evident that the individual may hold to a personal belief and philosophy regarding any number of issues that would come before the court. To think otherwise, seems stupid. It does seem, though, that those personal preferences should be set aside to view each case against the "letter of the law." Therefore, it would seem acceptable for a judge to personally believe in abortion (for instance) as long as his/her judgement in the case was not guided by personal belief, but by the law.

Here I will, of course, acknowledge the nature of original sin and recognize that a judge with a liberal personal philosophy will tend to view law one way, while the one with a conservative personal philosophy will view it another - whether those views in any given case will be "good" or not.

Now, back to Miers:
- Evidence of her personal life seems positive.
- Evidence of her personal philosophy seems positive.
- Evidence of her judicial philosophy seems positive.

Most telling though is the fact (reported by World Magazine in its October 15 issue) that Harriet Miers holds the Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. Go girl!!

[Note: author is 1978 graduate of Georgia College (now Georgia College and State University) in Milledgeville, Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics.]

Monday, October 17, 2005

Just Another Monday

Well, it was another Monday.

A little breakfast and the news. Then to work sorting out the finances (usually Tuesday mornings work) from the last couple of weeks away from home. Next spitting out envelopes and cover letters to mail another round of resumes (not just another Monday on this account either).

Then rush out to get what Donna wants for lunch only to find that particular establishment was closed Friday through Monday (today), so a quick call to change gears - I mean menus. Then home for lunch.

Next, it's out to pay the cable bill, by the pharmacy to get some prescriptions and talk with the pharmicist. Here, I did get to speak with a couple of guys/brothers that I knew from the former church. From them, I got an update on their mother who has developed lung cancer and is currently undergoing treatment - pray for Pauline. Found out one also was celebrating his birthday - Happy Birthday Frank! Then it was by the post office to mail all the resumes prepared earlier.

Then back to the house for just a few moments with Donna before the first of my piano students arrived (normal Monday).

After piano lessons, we put together a grocery list and I was off to Wal-Mart to see if I could keep it under budget. Close but no cigars as they say - at least I had the cash to cover the slight overage. Next a stop by Wendy's to get chili for supper - I am just now beginning to feel it in my chest - another round of generic rolaids is in my future. (By the way, gas at the Wal-Mart Murphys was only $2.469 tonight with the .03 off for using a shopping card - best I've seen in a while.)

Then home for chili and salad with Donna and the one tv show I try to catch each week.

Now, the show is over, Donna is trying to rest some more, so I've checked my email, put together the shockwave daily jigsaw puzzle, and am composing this "masterpiece" (Smile big now!!).

Some of today's activities were unique and others were the same as almost every other week, so I guess that makes it ...

Just another Monday!

PS - In addition to a couple of cards, Donna got flowers from the adult choir at First Baptist Church, Toccoa today. It wasn't ... just another Monday!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day Two

Well ... today, we discovered how worn out we were from a week at the hospital. After a full night's sleep, still tired and with a tough headache, I stayed in bed most of the day. Cindy also appeared worn out from her stay with Donna's friend.

Speaking of the friend - please be in prayer for Wanda. Somehow, yesterday, she broke her leg in several places and she is now in the hospital awaiting surgery on Monday to repair the damage.

Donna, of course, continues her recuperation. Unfortunately, her love for me had her doing things that she shouldn't have because of my headache.

I did, however, fix lunch - not without some concern on her part that I wasn't doing it right, but finally her pain got her back in bed and I told her that it would be fine even if not done exactly right. I managed to prepare hamburger patties topped with cheese and an onion slice with baked potatos and spinach. It looked good and she said that I did a good job - my lunch was delayed by my headache for a few hours, but warmed in the microwave it was still very good - if I may say so myself.

This evening, supper was provided by our neighbors across the street - thank you Brian and Renee.

We were puzzled by one thing though. Having lived in Lavonia for over 12 years serving one church for most of that time, then being members of another local church (where Donna is a member of the choir) since leaving that church, and currently serving another church, we were surprised at the lack of visits, phone calls, cards, and flowers that Donna received.

I would be remis though to not mention that the pastor of the church where we are members did sit with me during Donna's surgery (along with my parents who drove up for the surgery) and called later in the week. The minister of music called and one of the members has called several days to check on Donna. Our pastor's wife, who is in the chaplaincy program at the hospital in Anderson, SC visited on 2 occasions and the chairman of the deacons at Sisters Baptist Church in Sandersville, GA where I serve as Interim Associate Pastor drove the approximately 3 hour trip to visit with Donna - thank you Lamar Binion.

Well enough ramblings for today. This is just ...

Day Two.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Home Again

Well, we are home again.

Donna's surgery went well. The surgeon, Mandy Herring, was excellent - kind and caring - as were her partners that did follow-up visits. The services of the Women's and Children's Hospital of the Anderson Area Medical Center (AnMed) were excellent also - both nursing staff and food. (Well, aside from the liquid diet that Donna had for several meals following surgery.)

She did have a scare, and an extra night's stay in the hospital, because of a drop in her hemoglobin, but it stabilized and even went up this morning ... so we were able to come home.

The downside, of course, there is always a downside, was the sleeping accomodations for the spouse - me. The chair made into a bed alright, but its softness was only slightly better than the floor, which I found was the best bed at an Athens, GA hospital that shall for the time being remain nameless.

So, we are home again.

We are now waiting for our baby, Cindy Lou, to come home - she stayed with friends and I'm sure her spoiling went unabated during these past several days - but, she is a sweetheart. She has been through all of Donna's sickness, her nursemaid. Now, I am ready for her to come home and resume that service, because I'm not the greatest "nurse" in the world.

And, being home, I will be home for the next week. I only hope that I will be able to accomplish some things around the house that I have been unable to do because of my work. We, also, continue to prepare for the day when we may have to move - if not physically, at least mentally we prepare. We pray that God will open up a place of service at just the right time in just the right place for it is possible that our interim service at Sisters Baptist Church in Sandersville will soon be coming to an end.

We sometimes find it a challenge, but we try to trust that God is working His will and His way in these days. (BTW: if you know of a Southern Baptist congregation seeking a full-time minister, either music, pastor, associate pastor, or administrator, please refer them to my resume.)

Well, this has been an interesting experience creating my first blog, but the important thing for now is ...

We are home again!