Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’ve Been Tagged

No Average Girl has tagged me. Since she is a fellow Georgian, I will do this for her. Here goes, if you need a snack or anything, now might be a good time.

10 Years Ago
Living in Florida
Teaching school
Awaiting the arrival of my oldest son
Refereeing high school football
Minister of music

5 Years Ago
Beginning my tenure as pastor of Pine Park Baptist Church
One of the most significant years of my life
Growing an awesome garden
Had a great vacation in Chattanooga, TN
Getting a lot of fishing done

1 Year Ago
In the middle of a building program at my church
Coaching my youngest son’s baseball team
Participated in short term mission trip
Began teaching at the Southwest Georgia Baptist Bible Institute (no we don’t have monogrammed sweaters)
Took my wife and kids to their first major league baseball game (the Braves of course)

Yesterday
Went to church
Preached twice
Ate Chinese food for lunch
Slept through the Daytona qualifying
Caught a cold

5 Songs I know all the words to
Blessed Assurance
All Hail the Power
At the Cross
In the Garden
It Is Well With My Soul

5 Things I would do with a million dollars
Tithe and offering
Pay some bills
Save for sons college
Investments
Take my wife out to eat

5 Places I’d run away to
Smoky Mountains
My Grandmother’s farm
New England in the fall
Canadian Rocky Mountains
Torino, Italy (the Olympic scenery has blown me away)

5 Things I’d never wear
A dress
A pink tuxedo
An earring
A mullet
Anything with U. of FL Gators logo on it

5 Favorite toys
My guns
My fishing rods
My golf clubs
My computer
Power tools

5 Favorite books or TV shows
(This is besides the books listed in my profile)
Treasure Island
Anything by John Grisham
Experiencing God
Lost
Criminal Minds

5 Greatest Joys
Serving God
My family
My friends
Preaching/teaching
Good food

I’m supposed to tag five other people. If you are one of the first five to read this, consider yourself tagged.

Quail Hunting With the Veep

As if the President didn’t have enough on his plate, now his Vice President is shooting other Texans.

I’m sure the whole world is aware by now that Vice President, Dick Cheney, accidentally shot his hunting buddy, Austin, TX, attorney, Harry Whittington while quail hunting near Corpus Christi this weekend.

Now we all know that Dick is a no-nonsense type of guy. I’m sure he didn’t mean to shoot the guy, but you can bet that the humor-mills of the country already have the wheels in motion to come up with a bunch of jokes on this one. It’s just too good to pass up.

Actually, I can identify with Mr. Whittington. You see, I too, was accidentally shot on a quail hunt when just a teenager. I can tell you that it’s not much fun, but as you can see, I survived. In fact, the limp is almost gone now.

I won’t say who the shooter was, but he was very closely related to me. I held it over his head for many years until he got old enough (and big enough) that I couldn’t use it for leverage any more. I finally forgave him, but he better not EVER do it again, or I WILL tell Mama and Daddy this time.

P.S. Marc, over at Purgatorio, is taking up a collection to send Pat Robertson on a quail hunt with Dick Cheney. I don’t think the gift is tax-deductible though.

I Can Do All Things

As we head into the weekend, I would like to share some thoughts with you about my favorite verse in the Bible.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:13

I have learned that God wants His children to be overcomers. I realize that this is hardly the revelation of the century, but all too often we live a life lacking in victory because we fail to rely on the strength of our Savior.

We can infer from this verse that there will be things which we must do that are beyond our abilities, knowledge and resources. In fact, I am convinced that God consistently calls us to do things that fit that description. The reason, of course, is that God wants to be glorified through us. If our accomplishments are in our own strength, even though they may be good works, the glory seems to come our way rather than God’s.

Another thing I have learned is that the things God calls me to do are actually the things that He wants to accomplish through me and in me. Part of this would relate to the process of sanctification as God works through me to perform His will and to conform me to the image of Christ.

How then do we tap into this enormous power source? The fact is, it is already dwelling in us. The awesome power of Christ’s Spirit indwells all believers, equipping us to do whatever God may call us to do. The best way that we can utilize this power is to simply remove self from the picture. God does not force Himself upon us, if we insist upon functioning in our own strength, He will let us. We must be willing to die to self so that the power of God may be evident through us.

Through the power of Christ I can face the trials of life, cope with pain, overcome temptations, face conflict, forgive, restore, grow, learn, build, preach, teach, counsel, mentor, guide and parent (these are the areas of my life where I have had to lean on His power). Your needs may be similar to mine or totally different. My needs may and probably will change over time. One thing is certain, through Christ, we can do ALL things.

Charnock on Providence

Today, I would like to share with you some profound thoughts on the providence and existence of God as written by 17th. century theologian, Stephen Charnock.

Those that deny the providence of God, do in effect deny the being of God; for they strip him of that wisdom, goodness, tenderness, mercy, justice, righteousness, which are the glory of the Deity. And that principle, of a greedy desire to be uncontrolled in their lusts, which induceth men to a denial of Providence, and that thereby they might stifle those seeds of fear which infect and embitter their sinful pleasures, may as well lead them to deny that there is any such being as a God. That at one blow, their fears may be dashed all in pieces and dissolved by the removal of the foundation: as men who desire liberty to commit works of darkness, would not have the lights in the house dimmed, but extinguished. What men say against Providence, because they would have no check in their lusts, they may say in their hearts against the existence of God upon the same account; little difference between the dissenting from the one and disowning of the other.

To deny God’s involvement in the affairs of men is tantamount to denying the existence of God Himself. What God does is an extension of His nature. The man who is proud enough to deny his need of God is a fool, Psalm 14:1, demonstrating both a denial of his own wickedness and an ignorance of who God is.

Brotherly Love

This was given to me by one of my church members. I do not know the particulars of this event, but the story itself is powerful.

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?” Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

The point is, he was willing to do whatever was necessary to save the one he loved.

Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.”

And then He called us friends.

In all of history, kings have asked their subjects to die for them. Jesus is the only King in history to die so that His people could live.

Let us live for Him!

The Importance of Being a Christian Nation

Since 9/11 we have heard over and over again that Islam is a “peaceful” religion. The terrorists who hijacked the airplanes were “fundamentalists” who represented only a small minority of the hundreds of millions Muslims around the world. Muslim clerics in America scrambled quickly to distance themselves from the radicals of the Middle East.

Really?

In the past few days I have watched in disbelief as Muslims have protested throughout the Middle East, even burning Danish embassies, because of a cartoon. A CARTOON!

A thought came to me. “Could perhaps the Christian influence in America be the only thing that is preventing this kind of display here?” The nations where this rioting is taking place are Islamic nations. They lack the spiritual influence and ethics that America has been blessed with since our birth. Things such as burning an embassy, an American flag or an automobile are commonplace.

I realize that morals are declining in our nation. I realize that the majority of people in our nation are no longer worshippers of God. This saddens and alarms me. Are we losing the only thing that is preventing us from becoming another Syria, Lebanon or Iran?

President Bush has an agenda of democracy in the Middle East. That is a noble endeavor but it will never bring peace to the region. The only peace will be found in the Gospel of Peace.

It is imperative that we spread that gospel here at home. Christians have the only weapon that is truly capable of holding the Muslim onslaught at bay. I am convinced that the best way to preserve America from what we are seeing in the Middle East is to witness to our neighbors, our friends and co-workers, our classmates and particularly “the strangers in our gates”. We need the majority, no, not a moral majority, but a righteous majority. This can only be accomplished through evangelism.

It has been said that the light that shines the longest distance shines the brightest at home. If we are to be effective around the world, let us shine the light of the gospel on our own nation. We have many wonderful missionaries around the world who are laboring diligently and faithfully in God’s Kingdom. The problem I see is that too many American Christians feel that if they support these missionaries financially then they have done their part. Let’s wake up, church! Our nation is being overcome with spiritual darkness.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

What Makes a Method Right?

In my post last week, “In Search of Foolishness”, I discussed some concerns with some of the methods to which many churches are resorting to “draw a crowd”.

Let me say up front, there is nothing wrong with a crowd. The bigger they are, the better. These numbers represent an opportunity to present the Gospel of Christ. I don’t know of a pastor or a church in their right mind who does not desire a large crowd. If our desire in this is to present the Gospel to as many people as possible, then this is a good thing. If our desire is simply to stroke our ego and make us feel successful, then we have a problem. I am not here to pass judgment upon motives which I can’t see, so I will leave the task of self-examination up to each of my readers.

The problem lies in how do we determine our methods? There are some methods of reaching the populace that are specifically mentioned in Scripture and thus, I believe, will always be relevant. The first of these is personal evangelism. I am convinced that this is by far the most effective means of reaching the lost as it is intensely relational, thus bearing out the nature of the Gospel.

Another biblical method is that of ministry. It has rightly been said that it is difficult to share the Gospel to an empty stomach. Jesus was constantly performing acts of ministry that met the physical needs of others while at the same time giving Him opportunity to share His message. I would point out on this note, however, that our work is incomplete if we minister without sharing the message.

Now it is certain that there are methods not mentioned specifically in the Bible that are still in agreement with the purity of the message of deliverance. I believe that it is equally certain that there are methods that are not in agreement with such purity. How then do we know what makes evangelistic methods right? Is it merely the number of professions that we can report at the end of the endeavor? Is attendance in itself indicative of right practices?

Let me submit to you my thoughts on the subject. We live in a culture that is driven by success. Often (usually) that success is defined in numbers. Unfortunately, the church of our time seems to be buying into that definition. Many of us have heard pastors stand up at conferences and declare that if we are not growing exponentially and baptizing a certain number each year then we are failures.

If we make the mistake of accepting this definition of success, we will eventually fall into the trap of allowing the “crowd” to determine the methods we use to reach them. When this happens, we reach a point where we will do nearly anything to attract a crowd. We justify this philosophy by pointing to our numbers.

Numbers often do not tell the whole story. We should not make them our goal. God never called us to set numerical goals. In fact, God never called us to build a church. Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The church’s function is to exalt Christ, He will build His church.

I would submit to you that we should let the message determine the method. Everything Jesus did was done strategically and purposefully to bring the gospel home to the person He was confronting. Every miracle He performed met a physical need that was symptomatic of the individual’s greater spiritual need.

Jesus did not go around with a dog and pony show. He didn’t promote wrestling matches. Can you believe that we don’t even find biblical indications that He ever even used music as an outreach?

Jesus came to save the lost. Every method He employed maintained integrity to His message. People were always informed that their greatest need was salvation and there was never any doubt as to who Jesus was.

God help us to develop our methods accordingly.

Some Good Blogs This Week

As I have visited around the blogosphere this week, I have found some good blogs that I thought I would pass along to any who are interested.

Doug Eaton offers challenging devotional thoughts.
Radical One has some wonderful insights on raising daughters.
Michael Pendleton has debuted in the blogosphere this week with some interesting discussions on the eternality of God.
Tim Ellsworth always has good things going on at his place (The rumor is he is going to add a popcorn and soft-drink dispenser to enhance your reading pleasure).
My brother, Cameron Cloud, has had an excellent series of articles on holiness.

I hope everyone has a blessed weekend.

Jesus Loves Me

I have never gotten over that beautiful song from my childhood,

Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.
I never get tired of being told I am loved. And to think that Jesus loves me! The thought is overwhelming at times. The Bible is full of God’s declarations of love to His people. May I share one with you? The Song of Solomon is such a beautiful book. The poetic description of the courtship between Solomon and the little vineyard girl is a wonderful love story in itself. When we take this as a picture of Christ’s love for the church it becomes very personal.
Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Song of Solomon 6:4
Picture the noble King Solomon, accustomed to wealth, splendor and all the trappings of his power speaking to this young woman who is a servant. Her appearance has been affected by her work and her environment, yet Solomon, (who by all accounts was a connoisseur of beauty) called her beautiful. This is not a case of “blind love”, it is a case of love transforming the appearance of the one who is loved.
It doesn’t end there. He starts comparing her to Tirzah, his name for his palace. He compares her to his hometown. He describes her as having the same effect upon him that he would get from his position of leadership. “Beautiful one, you mean as much to me as my home, my glory and my power.”
Do you see where this is going? Christ was willing to step away from His home, His glory, His Father and all the adoration of heaven itself to come to us and show us just how much He loved us. He was willing to pay any price to be with us.
He doesn’t stop there, though. His grace looks beyond the effects that our life and environment have left on us and sees what we can become in the light of His glory. He transforms us into something so beautiful that it is acceptable before the very throne of the Most High. We have His promise that in the fullness of time we will be united with Him in a heavenly marriage and will be with Him for eternity.
Oh yes! Jesus loves me!

McNabb Should Lighten Up

Donovan McNabb, quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, finally responded to negative comments from estranged (and strange) teammate, Terrell Owens. Earlier this season, Owens made the comment that were Brett Favre leading the Eagles, they would probably be undefeated.

McNabb responded by accusing T.O. of racism. He called the comment about Favre a “black on black crime”. He listed a number of quarterbacks (all black), that Owens could have named that would not have been offensive to him. But because Owens named a white quarterback, he sees it as a racist remark. Never mind that Brett Favre is one of the greatest ever to play the game (yes, I am a fan), it just offended him to think of a punk daring to rate a white player ahead of him.

I am not a racist. I enjoy watching Donovan McNabb play the game. He is talented and exciting. I can understand his sensitivity to some racist remarks after the Rush Limbaugh flap. But this is over-reacting at it’s worst. Has he failed to notice that T.O. is African-American as well? Do you really think that the most self-centered person in the entire NFL is going to make negative comments about his own race? Get real.

Donovan is already distinguishing himself in a fine career. He has led his team to the Superbowl. Peyton Manning, arguably the best quarterback in the league, has yet to do that. McNabb has proven that he is willing to play with a team. He has shown dignity and class throughout this entire episode until now.

I seriously doubt that Donovan reads my blog. But just in case he stops by, this message is for him. Donovan, you are a great player. You are a greater asset to your team and a better man than Terrell Owens. Don’t lower yourself to his level. The best way to prove him wrong, is to come back next year and show what your team can do without him. Seriously, lighten up.