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Showing posts from 2011

My New Year's Intentions

I've decided to call them intentions this year instead of resolutions.  It seems that the word resolution carries with it the idea that they will be broken.  Honestly, I've not made any "resolutions" in years because most of them are usually broken before the first quarter is over.  Maybe renaming them "intentions" will bode well for keeping them.  At any rate, this is a work in progress. (about to be interrupted by an extended family foray to a local mall and theater)
Here are my BIG THREE intentions for 2012.

During this year I intend to make a conscious daily effort to live, think and feel as Jesus did/would.During this year I will begin to add fasting to my prayer life.During this year I will enter into an "iron sharpens iron" relationship with 2 other men.Why only three?  Because that is manageable.  I've found that if I do any more, I get lost in the process.  Also, these three will impact every area of my life and relationships, so why do…

Thank You, Mary & Joseph

This week as Christmas draws near, I find myself thinking about a pregnant teenager and her twenty-something fiance.  The faith they exhibited is phenomenal.  It is almost unimaginable that they would make the decisions they did in the face of the cultural mores of the time.  The dangers of being ostracized and possibly killed were very real.  I know that God is sovereign and that His play would be done, if not through them, through someone else, but I can't imagine anyone else with so much on the line.  Follow the story in Matthew 1:18ff from the new Common English Bible.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. 20 As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “ Joseph son of David, don…

Common English Bible > Home

Common English Bible > Home:

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I'm participating in the "Thank you- Come again-I promise" blog tour for this new translation of the Bible for the common man. I'm enjoying doing my devotional reading from the CEB. You can go to the web sight listed in the link above and get your own free copy of the new Bible. One interesting difference I've noticed is the translating of "the Son of Man" as the "Human One". Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man most of the time in the Gospels, so this rendering "Human One" appears quite often. I'm sure I'll come across other changes that will at least make me pause and think through familiar passages. The tag line for the CEB is "a fresh translation to touch the heart and mind." In my reading so far, I think they have achieved this goal. CEB is also available free in @YouVersion and can be downloaded free on your @Kindle. I encourage you to check out …

Appreciate Your Pastor

I know that we have just passed Pastor Appreciation Month, but I wanted to log in my view from the other (pastor's) side.  Granted, I'm 72 and not exactly in prime physical condition, but after I preach twice on Sunday I'm wrung out.  Even after the morning service I can hardly wait to hit my recliner and nap for awhile before gearing up for the next service.  All of this to say I don't know how these guys do it who preach 3-6 times on a weekend.  I'm sure that most lay people have no clue as to the emotional and physical energy expended by most preachers in the process of preaching.  It becomes even more laborious when there is little or no response.  It is like preaching with a 1,000 lb. boulder on your back.
Couple with this the well-meaning person who "un-loads" his/her problem on the pastor as he is on the way to the pulpit (that is what office hours and telephones are for)
Let me hasten to say that my congregation is very conscious of the fact that my…

Front-line Missionaries; the American Work Force

Last night our Home Group viewed a video featuring Erwin McManus entitled "What Is Work?"  The idea that work can actually be worship was unpacked in a way that only master story-teller McManus can do.  I was reminded of Colossians 3:17 & 23.  "And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.""Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for man." That word, "enthusiastically" comes from the words "en" (with) and "theos" (God)  When we do something enthusiastically, we do it with, or full of, God.  Erwin shared how the first commercial produced by his film company placed 3rd in the Frito-lay contest to be shown during the recent Super Bowl.  Later it was rated #8 among "viral" videos because of the millions of "hits".  All of this gave him a platform from which to share his faith story w…

World Changing Wednesdays

At our church we usually pray conversationally for as much as 20-30 minutes.  Our people are being trained to pray about one subject at the time for up to a minute, and then to give others the opportunity to either join in that prayer topic or introduce another one.  They are free to pray as many times as they choose, but asked to keep each prayer focused on one topic.  The result thus far (we've been doing this for about 6 weeks) is that more people pray about more topics than in the old method of one or two people recruited to open and close the prayer time while everyone else prays silently (if at all)
We have the opportunity to study the Bible in Sunday School, to be encouraged, inspired and challenged by a sermon in church.  On Wednesday we have the opportunity to impact the world through prayer.  Ron Dunn, great Bible teacher/preacher now deceased, described intercessory prayer as an ICBM missile, launched from a pad no larger than your knees which can travel at the speed of …

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/2011/03/25/sneak-peek-enemies-of-the-heart-by-andy-stanley/

As usual, Andy Stanley get right to the "heart" of the matter in this book.  With personal anecdotes, clear scriptural exposition and to-the-point conclusions, Andy helps the reader expose the fountainhead that feeds the outflow of their life.  Guilt, anger, greed and jealousy are identified as the enemies which torment us all.  Not content to just help the reader discover these insidious foes, Andy then gives a clear-cut path to defeating them.
At the end of the book there are discussion questions on each chapter which makes this book a great tool for Bible study groups, Home Groups, etc.  Get your hands on this book ASAP.  You'll be glad you did.

Do We Ever Really Grow Up?

Today I was eating lunch at our local Wendy's.  Just across from me was a group of tables, pulled together to accommodate a contingent of Sr. Adults.  As more and more arrived, they embarked on a lively conversation about lousy service they had experienced at other fast food places.  Their conversation was peppered with profanity, and interestingly, the women held their own with the men in the cussing competition. It reminded me of times when I've signed up without a partner to play golf with the association where I live.   I've been partnered with some of the most profane guys around.  It almost seems as if they are once again in Middle School and trying out all the curse words they can come up with.  The last guy I played with dropped "f'" bombs left and right, and never seemed to think a thing about it. I think it may be that we grow older, but not UP.  Somehow our development gets arrested along the way and we never progress beyond a certain point.  What …

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

It seems that everywhere I look I see people getting all bent out of shape over things that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things.  On the news I hear people nit-picking through a candidate's life rather than paying attention to their views on important issues.  Character is almost totally overlooked just as long as the person agrees with my biases.  If it just stayed there, on the news, it would be OK, but it permeates the church, family life, the neighborhood and more.  Since I'm intimately involved in the church, I'll address those issues here.While great attention was given to the building and decorating of the temple in Jerusalem, we do not have a template for building local churches.  As a matter of fact, it appears that God is blessing those congregations that don't even have a place, other than a home, or vacant store-front in which to meet, while the large, stately edifices are struggling to meet payments and maintain huge budgets, most of whic…

Good, Better, Best

You've heard it over and over.  The enemy of the best is not the worst, it is the good and the better.  I find that to be so true in churches today.  We settle for the good and the better (projects to feed the hungry, provide for the poor, help the needy) while we let the best (making disciples of all nations) go begging.  Please understand, I'm not against these projects.  I just have a problem when we are unable to get people to buy into the Great Commission on a personal level but volunteer by the droves for the "good and better" projects.
Perhaps the problem is that we have been making converts for many years without making disciples.  If I'm not a disciple, then I have no idea how to make one.  Maybe we should begin with a definition of "disciple".  Wikipedia defines the word as...
A disciple is a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or other wise figure.


A Christian disciple is a follower and student of Jesus Christ as mentor, teacher, and wise…

Faith Baptist Church of Lake Placid Inc. - Lake Placid Florida

Faith Baptist Church of Lake Placid Inc. - Lake Placid Florida:

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This is my church. Last Sunday Rae and I joined here to begin our journey of faith with this group of believers. I'm excited about the future of this church because I truly believe that God has great plans for it. I've already come to know many of the Christ Followers here during an eight month interim I served over a year and a half ago. Little did I know that I would become the Pastor. God really does work in mysterious ways. As we begin this adventure, here are some random thoughts about how God grows a church.
God looks for people whose hearts are completely His in order to show Himself mighty on their behalf. (2 Chronicles 16:9) Our goal is to become those people. The church is called the "Bride of Christ" and as such must be pure in all her words, deeds and attitudes. God ordained the church to continue the work of Christ until He comes again. The church whose members fulfil…

Memories

l'm in my hometown, Cullman, AL. It's always good to be with family. Enjoyed lunch at Chik-fil-a. Every Monday at the Cullman, C f l you can bring your church bulletin and get BOGO (buy one, get one free) My brother, sister in law, sister, and a host of their church friends occupied about 5_6 tables.Later, got in a round of golf w/Jerry. As we drove to and from the course I was saddened by the extensive damage left by the spate of tornadoes that devastated the area last May. My hometown will never be the same except in the memories of those of us who grew up there.

What If...

Do you ever play "what if" in your mind? I certainly do. As a Pastor, I often look at my congregation and wonder, "What if they each took seriously the Great Commandment and the Great Commission?" What if each of them looked at their neighborhood or workplace or school campus as their personal mission field? What if they made it a point to tell their story of how Jesus has changed their life to someone each day, or even each week or each month?Invariably, after such flights of fancy, I come to the realization that even if only I and my fellow pastors did this, the world would be significantly different. For my part, I'm going to take this challenge personally. And each week I'm going to invite someone to join me in this great experiment. How about you?...today?...let's get started.

We need a Filter

I just changed the water filter in our refrigerator. After putting the new filter in place, I had to run water through it for about 5 minutes to clear the air from the water line. As I was doing this, I was reminded of something Jesus said in Mark 7:18-20 "Are you also lacking in understanding? Don't you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him? For it doesn't go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated (as a result He made all foods clean) Then He said, 'What comes out of a person, that defiles him. For from within, out of people's hearts, come evil thought, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, lewdness, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.'" It occurred to me that we are in need of a filter; perhaps a two function one. One function to filter that which enters our life via our eyes and ears, an…

Everyone But Me

Today as I was exiting Walmart, I stood for several minutes while about 20 people entered the exit door. They all looked at me as if I was the one in the wrong place. Sounds like a trivial thing, but it is really indicative of a far more serious problem. The problem? "Rules apply to everyone else but me." My wife is a substitute teacher in high school. She sees this attitude everyday. I see it as I drive back and forth to work. Traffic laws only apply to the old and the weak in the minds of many drivers. Why should they exert the energy to push a lever and activate a turn signal when they change lanes? Why should they slow down when the speed limit is clearly marked?The same attitude is displayed by many when it comes to spiritual things as well. They treat the Ten Commandments as if they were Ten Suggestions. They really believe that God is going to make an exception in their case and allow them into heaven even though they have flaunted His law and never bothere…

My "Take-away" from the Anthony Trial

Along with most of America, I watched a great deal of the televised trial of Casey Anthony, accused of killing her two year old daughter. I came away with several realizations.Mankind, apart from God, is capable of incredible evil.Given a platform from which to promote oneself, ego can cause a person to lose sight of the initial goal.The observations of professional pundits are no better than mine.The law can be skewed in such a way as to tie the hands of a jury.American's will reward a self-professed liar with great riches and notoriety.Justice is only administered by the hand of God.There is little doubt in anyone's mind that Casey Anthony at the very least knows what happened to her daughter. The zeal of the prosecution to gain a sensational victory led them to over-step logic in seeking the death penalty and dug a hole from which they could not recover. The instructions given by the judge put the jury in a difficult position. They seemed to have done the best they coul…

Where's the Power?

In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells the disciples (and us through them) that "when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you WILL (emphasis mine) receive power and WILL tell people about Me everywhere, in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." NLT. The rest of the book of Acts and the epistles are records of that happening during the first century and following. However, as I observe what is happening, especially here in American churches today, I wonder, "where has all the power for witnessing gone?" A bit of deductive reasoning leads me to wonder if in fact the Holy Spirit is as active in local churches as we would like to believe. I understand the argument that believers are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. However, the evidence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individual believers, as given in Acts 1:8, is that powerful witnessing WILL take place through these believers that will reach their church field and far,…

Torn Between Two Lovers

The older I get the harder it is for me to abandon the known (comfortable, stable, friendly) for something that is new to me, even though it is perceived by most to be the better option. Case in point, I'm now on my third Blackberry phone. I have the BB Bold 9700. I've downloaded several aps so that now I can do my daily Bible reading and prayer time, listen to sermons, music and even novels, and read books w/the Kindle reader ap on my phone. I keep hearing and reading people talk about how the Apple I Phone has changed their lives and opened up so many opportunities. I go through periods of thinking, "Yes! That's what I want!", but then I start to think about having to part with the things I've become so used to and learn how to do it all the "Apple-way", and my enthusiasm wanes. The same goes for which brand of tablet I will eventually opt for. It seems the BB Playbook still has a ways to go to catch up with the I Pad 2 (with 3 on the horiz…

Am I Spoiled or What?

This past Saturday, while we were out at the mall, a thunder storm rolled through our area. When we returned home, one of our satellite boxes would not work (of course it was the HD one) Then we discovered that the base unit on our cordless phones was out, so none of the three hand-held units would work. However, our corded phone did work, even though it was plugged in to the same jack as the satellite box. Later we discovered that the desk-top computer would not connect to the internet, although the wire-less router was working and we can connect via the laptop. We also found out that our neighbor lost a TV in the storm, so we assume that our problem was also associated to lightening.
These things, in and off themselves, although aggravating are not the crux of my concern. The thing that bugs me is the frustration level and down-right anger as I began the process of calling the telephone service, Direct TV people to get repair work started. I should be above all that. I just p…

I'm Baaaaacck

It has been awhile since I last posted on my blog. Two reasons for that; 1. I didn't have anything worthwhile to say, and 2. doing more reading than I've done in many years. The primary reason for the latter is the Kindle I got for Christmas from my wife and kids. I've always loved books, and have read a lot in my various fields (ministry, church, religion.) With the Kindle I've re-discovered the joy of reading fiction. I've found many very affordable books since getting my Kindle, some in the free up to $.99 range. Also, the free Bibles available on Kindle have made it easy for me to study & prepare for messages and Bible studies almost anywhere. Recently I down loaded Notepad from Seven Dragons which gives me the ability to make notes on the run so I can refer to them later as I have time. I really wish Evernote was available for Kindle, although I do have that on my BlackBerry Bold 9700.
All of that to say that, at age 72, I'm still discovering ne…

Family

We've just spent a week with our older daughter and family. Our grandchildren in this family, ranging in age from 5 (almost 6 he would tell you) to 11 (going on 18) includes a pair of twins, age 9. Most of the week was spent in Orlando visiting the various theme parks, and retreating back to our condos at the Fountains for dinner and sleep so we repeat the same pattern the next day. We did take one day off and spent it involved in activities at the clubhouse and pool, a welcome respite. While I'm already back home and have napped in my favorite chair, my daughter and family are somewhere between here and Newark, NJ at the mercy of US Air. Their flights have been delayed by weather, changed by equipment problems and we're not really sure when they will get home. I know they will be whipped by the end of the trip. Tomorrow we all have responsibilities at our respective churches. All of that leads me to some thoughts about family. Just a week prior to this, we journeye…

What's Wrong With Follow-ship?

My in box is crammed with admonitions to attend this leadership conference, buy this leadership book, or be coached to become a more effective leader. I don't hear anyone talking about the importance of "follow-ship". That is anyone but Jesus. If I remember correctly, His command was "Follow Me." Paul picked up on that and encouraged those to whom he wrote to essentially "follow me as I follow Christ". I came across an interesting article in WordSearch;
The Discipline of Following Thus leaders are also followers, followers of Christ, and willing to accept the leadership of others. This turns out to be the harder discipline. Almost all aspire to be leaders; few aspire to be followers. Following involves the recognition that we must operate not as a cluster of independent individuals but as the body of Christ. God has designed the body for interdependence, not codependence or independence. On a deeper level, following requires personal humility and t…

Re-thinking Disciple Making

I'm currently reading David Platt's book "Radical: taking back your faith from the American Dream". In addition to being convicted, challenged and chastised, I've been forced to re-think the process of disciple-making. The truth of the matter is that most of our current disciple making "programs" are extra-biblical at best. There is no place in the Bible that even hints that disciple making involves taking a course, or completing a curriculum. When I look at the example of Jesus, I see Him spending 24/7 with 12 men for 3+years. He taught by word, deed and assignment. The closest I've seen any contemporary plan to that is the pattern that Reach-out Ministries (in the old days) had. That pattern was "I do it; I do it and they are with me; they do it and I'm in the background; they do it and I've moved on."
I used to have a sticky note on the dash of my car which read D.D.A.A. It stood for "Don't Do Anything Alone"…

Move Over, Jonah

Today I'm feeling a lot like Jonah when the plant that God had caused to grow to give him shade suddenly withered and died. Jonah got so upset that he also prayed to die. Here's the dialogue that followed. But God said to Jonah, "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?" And he said, "Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die." And the Lord said, "You pity the plan, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Ninevah, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?"
So, why am I feeling like Jonah? Today I caught myself praying for God to help me find a misplaced Bible and a power cord for my Kindle. I suddenly realized that I had not prayed for the situation in Somalia, or Egypt, or Afghanistan, and yet I was upset and selfishly praying for God to help me find…

Armadillo Hunting

A while back as we were sitting watching TV one evening, we heard a thumping sound seeming to come from under the floor. My wife wondered if we had an armadillo under the house. Several days later she mentioned it to our pest control people and they checked and said, yes, there does seem to be indications that you could have an armadillo. Now these creatures have been known to eat the insulation around the a/c ducts that are under our manufactured home, resulting in hundreds of dollars for repairs. Thus began the armadillo hunt.The Bugs Bee Ware people put out 2 traps near where they thought the creature went in and out from under the house. Two days later there was a creature in one of the traps...an opossum, not and armadillo. A call to the pest control people was made, they came and picked up the creature and set a new trap with some bait this time. Today when we awoke, there was another creature in one of the traps; a raccoon. We called the pest control folks again. Since…

Old Men at the Gates

Way back in Biblical times the old men of the city would go every day to the city gates and there mediate disputes, give advise and otherwise counsel those who came for help. Their years of experience, knowledge of the local laws and understanding of human nature were all beneficial to inhabitants of the city. It also kept the courts from being over whelmed by penny ante suits. Today we seem to try our best to put our aged ones out of sight and out of mind. We consign them to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc. Anything to get them out of our hair. As we do so, we also lose the benefit of their wisdom gained by years of living.As I was thinking of this I was reminded of the book, "Marley and Me". Only occasionally do we find someone who stumbles upon the gold mine of experience and wisdom locked in the minds of those with lots of "miles" on them. This week I took time to watch the DVD "The New Karate Kid" starring Jackie Chan and Will S…

Priorities

I remember the story of a man who gave Andrew Carnegy a slip of paper with an idea on it and said, "Try this, and then send me what you think it's worth." The story goes that six months later Carnegy sent the man a check for $25,000. So what was on the slip of paper? A simple idea: write down the 10 most important things you need to do tomorrow. Then rank them in order of importance. Tomorrow begin with number one and work your way through the list, not leaving one until it is done. That idea has served millions of people well over the years.Long before that idea, Jesus Christ presented a better one. In Matthew 6:33 He said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Why is it that we find it so hard to do that one thing? Probably, for most, we don't understand what it means to seek first the kingdom of God. Perhaps we have no idea of what the kingdom of God is. Let me share a few thought …