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Showing posts from 2016

Ahhh Monday!

Monday mornings are probably not the best time for a pastor to update his blog...at least not this pastor.  However, I feel the need to have a "mind-dump" so that I can get on with my day and week.
Yesterday was somewhat of a nightmare.  To begin with, at the opening assembly of Sunday School (yes, we still do that) our church organist fell and broke her shoulder.  Then, for whatever reason, our attendance at both Sunday School (we still have that too) and worship was down significantly from last week.  Then, just before the evening service (need I say, we still have that as well?) I got a call from a member whose wife had bent over and hit a wire in the corner of her eye.  Thankfully she is OK and the scratch on the eye should heal soon.
Now I am faced with a busy Christmas season without our best accompanist.  Who knows how long she will be out recovering, or if she will be able to continue as organist and choir accompanist.  This is not a good time of the year to be searchi…

What If???

Faith Baptist Church in Lake Placid was established back in 1984 with a vision to reach residents in the Sun n Lakes community. Since that time the church has been relocated to the corner of CR 29 and Holmes Ave, meaning that many people beyond the Sun n Lake area have access to the church. Most of the effort of the church has been "come to us" oriented. If you come to the church we will teach you, pray for you, minister to you and be your "church family".
What if...we began to be an "as you go" church? Here's what I mean by that. In addition to the Sun n Lake community we now have people who are members here who live in Placid Lakes, the Lakeview Community, Sylvan Shores, at Henderson's Fish Camp and other spots on Lake Ishtapoga, in the Lake June area and even Sebring. What if we began to think of taking the church to our neighborhood? What if in each of these areas where we have members there was at least one Home Group, hosted by reside…

Scripture and the Mind

Recently as I was reading about people from countries where Christians are persecuted, I came across a particular story regarding house churches in Russia. It seems that 3 House Church pastors had started multiple House Churches, but none of the groups knew about the others. This is a security thing. Wanting to somehow let them know that they were not alone, the 3 pastors got government permission to hold a week long Youth Convention. All told 700 students showed up. None of them had Bibles yet all of them were in House Churches. During the week they were given the assignment of getting with their particular group and writing down all they could remember of the 4 gospels, and to write the lyrics to all the Christian songs they knew. At the end of the week when the results were compiled, they had all 4 gospels written with less than a dozen mistakes and they had lyrics to 1200 songs. Phenomenal!
However, some years later, after restrictions had been lifted and almost everyone h…

America Needs a Bath!

I took the title of this blog post from Revivalmatters.com in the information they put out about a "National Week of Repentance" scheduled for Oct. 30-Nov. 6.  You can find out more by going to their website at the link above.
I want to "springboard" from their title to talk about our personal and corporate need for repentance.  As I mentioned in a recent sermon, when Achan violated God's command about taking "loot" from the destruction of Jericho, God did not say, "Achan sinned." Rather He said "Israel sinned."  Just because we individually may have never had an abortion, God holds us as a nation responsible for the death of millions of unborn children.  Israel bore the consequences of Achan's sin.  Not only did Achan and his family pay the ultimate price of death, but 3,000 Israeli soldiers died unnecessarily because of his sin.  In the same way we, as a nation, will bear the consequences of the murder of millions of children…

The 1st Century Church vs the Contemporary Church

I think that first I must identify myself.  I'm a pastor who has 2 church music degrees and spent the better part of 20 years as a Minister of Music and Youth.  As pastor of a fairly "traditional" church (we have a choir and sing hymns from hymnals) I often get "suggestions" from people that they would like to see more "praise and worship" (meaning choruses or JOY-FM music)  Let me hasten to say that I like it all from classical to contemporary (which varies depending on where you live) to hip-hop to rap.  I decided to look in the Bible to find what I could about worship.
Interestingly enough, I found very little about music, except in the Psalms and in Revelation.  The defining words about the "new" church in Acts 2 are fellowship, praising God (which incorporates more than music) and meeting needs.
To steal a phrase from Rick Warren, "It's not about you!"  We are to worship God...not a genre of music or a style of preaching.  …

Trip of a Lifetime

My wife and I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime courtesy of our firstborn and her husband.  In 10 days we were in 5 states and 5 National Parks.  We flew from Orlando, FL to Denver, CO and met up with Kendra and family.  After a short night in Denver, we boarded the California Zephyr, early in the morning and headed for GrandJunction, CO.  The train ride was super with reclining seats, great views of the countryside and dinner in the dining car.  In Grand Junction my son in law rented a van and we spent a couple of days touring Colorado National Monument and Canyonland.  How anyone could view the magnificent scenery and still doubt there is a God is beyond me.
Boarding the Zephyr again (this time in the evening) we traveled to Salt Lake City, UT, arriving about 1 a.m.  After sleeping a in a bit, we once again rented a van and headed out to view The Arches.  I quickly began to feel my age hiking in the altitude with the beginnings of a sinus infection.  After a couple of da…

God is on the Job

In the midst of all the terror that is visiting our cities and streets today it is easy for one to decide that God has abandoned us.  The truth is that He is desperately trying to get our attention.  I think we are in that period that Peter spoke of in his second epistle 3:9 "The Lord does not delay His promise as some understand delay, but is PATIENT with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance."  God's patience is being extended to us and He is allowing events to happen that pushes us toward repentance.  One of the most memorized and quoted verses in the OT is 2 Chronicles 7:14 "and if My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land."  Notice that the verse begins with a lowercase letter which indicates that it is the continuation of the previous verse which is almost always left out when this passage is preache…

What to do With a Day Off

Today is Independence Day, 2016.  Our office is closed; I slept past 6:30; I have no agenda for the day except to get a walk and a work out done.  The thought just crossed my mind to drive over to Lakeview Drive and do my walking there.  Sounds like a plan.
The only problem with these thoughts is that my mind is programmed to work.  After almost 65 years of working (I had my first job at age 13) it is difficult for me to encounter a day with no agenda.  I think that is why I don't really "unplug" until about half way through a two week vacation.
The big thing I'm going to attempt today is to spend less time in front of the "boob-tube".  That seems to be my "go-to" thing when I have some down time.  So...here is the plan that is emerging;
Walk in a different locale and pray as I walk
Work out at the fitness center
Spend less time in the recliner in front of the TV
Read
Take a nap
Enjoy fellowship with my wife

I hope I'm able to pull this off.  …

Knowing Where You Are is Necessary to get to Where You are Going.

I'm sure that most of you have been in a shopping mall and looked at a Mall Directory.  There will always be a little symbol with the words "You are here" to help you locate where in the Mall you are.  From there you can plot your course to a particular store.  It is too bad that many people have no idea of where we are in our country these days.  Some think that we are in good shape so far as jobs and personal finances are concerned.  Others feel exactly the opposite.  Some are absolutely sure that if only the right party or the right person gets in office that we will be fine.  The time has come for us to locate where we are so that we can navigate to where we want to be.
The reality is that we are alienated from God.  When I say "we" I'm talking about our country, the United States of America.  We daily violate the laws of God and have even enacted federal laws to insure that we continue to violate God's Law.  ("Thous shalt not kill" vs. Ro…

What The Church is All About

The church is like a home. Portal Porch Path Purpose The PORTAL of a church is the entry point.  The portal must be visible, accessible and inviting in order for people to become interested in entering.  For the church the portal is not only the door, but the "First Impressions" people; the ushers and welcome-center personnel.  The PORTAL is also our website, Facebook Page and Twitter account. The PORCH must be a place of comfort, informality and welcome.  This should be a place where those coming through the portal find a welcome and feel "at home".  For most churches this would be the Worship Center.  It should be a combination of beauty, style and comfort.  The layout should foster interaction rather than isolation.  It is on the porch that immediate relationships are formed with special emphasis placed on the pre-service and post-service behavior of members.  The PORCH is our lobby & Welcome Center.  There should be happy, smiling Welcomers on the PORCH. The PATH …

Random Thoughts

It is Monday morning.  My brain doesn't always work best on Monday mornings, however here are some things that are running around in it today.
I drove through Dunkin Donuts and clearly ordered a medium hot coffee with 2 creams and 1 mocha swirl.  When I got to the window they handed me a LARGE but at least they got the rest of the order right.  And yes, I did pay for a large.  Made me think that in order to deserve $15 an hour minimum wage your should be able to get a simple order correct and also be able to make change without a computer telling you how much to give back.  To expand on that idea, in order to deserve $15 and hour you must be worth $20 an hour to your employer.
Enough of that.  I'm fascinated and excited about the news of revival breaking out in W. Virginia.  It seems that God shows up in the most remote places. I have been praying for weeks for revival to break out in Highlands County, FL.  Although that is where my church is, I don't care where it starts, …

Enough is Enough

The "flap" over restroom usage is the last straw.  Transgenders make up less than 2% of the population of the US, yet the PC police have decided that they should be given special privileges because of their mental illness.  Yes, I said mental illness.  That may not be politically correct, but it is biblically correct.  I'd rather fall into the hands of the PC police than into the hands of an angry God.  I've heard it said that if God does not judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.  That is "tongue in cheek".  God never has to apologize for anything.  However we should learn from the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah that when we choose to defy the Word of God and do "our own thing" there is a price to pay that is higher than we can imagine. I've been reading the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3.  Judgment is sure upon those who choose to spit in the face of God.  Don't be lulled into complacency becau…

Frustration

I've been working for over an hour to get my computer to do what I want.  Needless to say, I've become frustrated.  Come to think of it, there are many things which frustrate me these days. Harking back to the old Basic Youth Conflicts conferences with Bill Gothard, I know that my frustration arises from having a goal blocked.  The whole idea of goal setting can easily lead to frustration because not all goals are reachable.
The process of goal setting is often stressful for me.  Do I set goals based on what I want, no matter how outrageous they may be or do I set them practically, knowing up front that I can reach them?  I've finally settled on a plan that I think will help me.  Rather than setting goals and asking God to bless me as I pursue them, I now try to start with God, asking Him what goals I should set.  Many of my goals come straight from the pages of Scripture.  For example, I have a goal to become increasingly like Jesus.  That springs from Romans 8:29 where I…

Titles Tickle Me

I think I may have written about this before, but I've been reminded of it again and thought I would weigh in one more time.  Gotcha wondering what I'm talking about huh?  I'm referring to the younger generation of preachers that are hung up on titles.  Just this last week I read on Facebook the status of a young man who said he had just been called as "Lead Pastor" of a certain church.  I know that church.  They have no other staff other than the pastor.  Just who is he "leading".  Some would say, "Well, he is leading the flock."  Maybe so, but it just sounds pretentious to me to call oneself the "Lead Pastor" when there is no staff to lead.
Even funnier is the twenty-something pastor, just out of seminary or Bible College who calls himself "Senior Pastor".  He's not senior anything unless he has a child called "Junior".  I go to conferences every once in awhile and often the leader will go around the room an…

Easter Musings

With the approach of Easter next Sunday, I’m thinking more and more about the significance of the empty tomb.  As Paul said in 1 Cor. 15, if Jesus was not raised from the dead then those of us who are Christ followers are to be pitied.  If someone were to suddenly find the remains of Jesus in a garden tomb in the area, all of our faith would be in vain.  The reality is though that even with many trying to explain away the resurrection, it still stands.  For 2000+ years no one has be able to discredit the report of 500+ eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after the resurrection. The big difference between Christians and others is that our faith is firmly placed in Jesus, the Bible and the evident works of God (creation, etc.)  Their faith is in science or some “prophet” who make claims that can’t be substantiated.  Even those who claim their faith is in science cannot prove, using scientific methods that their belief has legs to stand on.  Science says that for something to be true, it must be o…

Gossiping the Gospel

https://nobtsgatekeeper.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/kelley-calls-southern-baptists-to-intentional-evangelism-and-disciplemaking/
The link above is to remarks made by President Kelley at the opening chapel service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary this term.  When he said something about "gospel conversations" it triggered a thought in me.
For as long as I can remember we Baptists have been badgered, harangued and guilt-ed to become "soul winners".  In order to do that you had to "witness" to as many people as possible.  Both, the term "soul winner" and "witness" seem to strike fear in the minds of many people.  Besides that, you had to "go" somewhere in order to do it.  Perhaps there is a better way of couching the terms so that people embrace them instead of avoiding the practice altogether.
I remember hearing that the literal translation of the first word of the "Great Commission" is "as you are going&q…

What I'm Looking for in a President

I don't generally comment on political issues, however, with the plethora of potential candidates this year I want to share what i'm looking for in a president. First I want a person of character. By that I mean someone who has some guiding principles by which they live and do not waver with every wind that blows. I also want a person who is at least a little Biblically literate. This is someone who regularly reads and has a grasp on the message of scripture. I want a person who has a relationship with God through Jesus. Such a person has the benefit of the Holy Spirit's guidance and power. I want a person who honors the biblical teaching regarding marriage. I want a person who knows that life begins at conception and abhors killing babies in the womb. I want a person who knows and adheres to the constitution. I want a person who recognizes the balance of power that originally led us to become a great nation and doesn't the presidency to be a license to do as they p…

The Heaven Promise; A review

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The Heaven Promise by Scott McKnight; A Review Scott
McKnight has done Christians a great service in writing this book.  Although he acknowledges some of the many
“old wives tales” and traditions about heaven, he has always brings the
discussion back to “what does the Bible say?”

Organized into four parts, the 25 chapters follow a logical dealing with the
mystery of heaven. Some of the chapters are dealing with specific questions
people have raised through the years about heaven; questions like “What about
near death experiences?” “What about rewards in heaven?” “What about
cremation?” and “Will there be any pets in heaven?” Of special interest to me
was “God’s Six Promises about Heaven”.

I think that every pastor will benefit from reading this book and keeping it
close at hand as a reference because of the extensive research McKnight has
done.  The bottom line for the author is
found on the back of the dust cover; “My hope,” McKnight shares, “is that
people will be hopeful about heav…

The Government Will Be Upon HIS Shoulders

This year on Christmas Eve my youngest grandson (10 years old) put together a Christmas Eve service for our family. I barely got out of the hospital with pneumonia in time to join the family in Orlando.  My situation dictated that we could not go out in crowds, so we opted for our own service in a condo unit. Nathan had an order of service that included songs, Bible readings and prayer.  One of the Bible readings came from the Isaiah 9 prophesy of the coming Messiah.  Verse 6 reads "For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders.  He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."  After we had sung "Silent Night" and closed with prayer, my next youngest grandson, 11 year old Joshua pronounced, "The Bible said that 'the government will be on His shoulders', so it makes no difference if Trump is elected as president."  With that he waved his hand and left the …