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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?