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Sunday, October 30, 2005


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!