Friday, April 28, 2006

Create the Future

I read a quote by Dr. Mark Chironna, "we wither repeat the past or create the future." Mark Batterson calls that the difference between ministry out of memory and ministry out of imagination. We are at a place where I feel a definite tension between the status quo and what can be. I am not willing to continue with the status quo. Not because I want change for change sake. If I wanted that I would just find a new ministry position. (Not that it hasn't crossed my mind.) But we need to change because not enough people are becoming disciples. There are too many unchurched and dechurched folks in Moultrie County and we are not reaching them effectively. My real in particular is to reach families in my generation.

We want to see whole families serving the Lord. I want to teach and disciple parents so that they can pass a living faith down to their children who will own that faith as their own. I believe that our church can transform the culture of our county. I believe that is why Abundant Life is here. But we will not be able to do it unless we are willing to take risks and find effective ways of reaching outside of our walls to engage people.

I really believe that we as disciples are called to bring the gospel to people. As we interact with people in the marketplace, in the workplace, in the schools, in the highways and byways of life we allow the Holy Spirit to interact with them through our words and maybe even more importantly through our actions. To do this we must change the way we are doing things or we will continue to repeat the past.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stumbling Stones

Romans 9:32b, 33
They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." 33As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

I was reading through Romans 9 during my devotion time today. This verse jumped out at me. The Jews of Paul's day couldn't past the fact that they could not earn salvation through observing the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.

All of us have met people who for one reason or another won't surrender to Christ Jesus as their savior. Some won't admit that they've sinned. Others want to earn salvation. Some people wonder why God allows bad things to happen. Other folks can't believe that Jesus is the only name that can save us. They think that all religions should lead to God and can't get past the exclusivity of Christ. Some folks get hung up on all the hypocrites in church. The list is long and varied but at some point every person who hears the gospel has to make a decision. Accept Christ or not. Those who trust in Him are saved. Those that don't stumble. And scripture says that the cornerstone will then crush them.

So the stumbling stone is always Christ. What are some of the "stumbling stones" you have encountered?

Monday, April 17, 2006


Easter has come and gone again. Man we have too much sugar in our house. Especially at a time when I am needing to lose weight. I guess I will have to step up the exercise regimen. We had a good Sunday. I preached at the community sunrise service. There was a pretty good turnout. I didn't hear what the final count was but I always enjoy preaching at community events. There is a different dynamic.

I led worship and preached in our service. It went pretty well. I was concerned because I knew that several people would be traveling and so I wasn't sure what our attendance would be like. However we ended up having 25% more people than our average so I was pleasantly surprised. I still am missing the upper range of my singing voice but I really was surprised that I felt so well after the service and still had a good amount of energy.

This afternoon our state Representative stopped by my office. He is running for a second term. During the last campaign I sent him an e-mail. I had been planning on voting for him because even though he is a democrat he is pretty conservative and has a lot of experience. But he ran some negative advertisements that I thought were misleading and made fun of the republican candidate. So I sent an e-mail letting him know why I wasn't voting for him. I didn't get a reply right away. But he said that when he was driving past today he saw my name on the sign and remembered the e-mail which he had saved. He told me about some of the things that he regretted from the campaign which was his first for a state level office. He also said that he had talked to other candidate since then and explained things to him. I thought it was a pretty honest answer to get from a politician and was impressed with his integrity.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A good wife!

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

It is amazing how God has blessed me with Rebekah. These last couple of months would have been really dark without her. I wouldn't want to be sick for this long ever again but we have certainly grown so much closer during this time. We have spent more time together because I have been limited in how much I get out and we haven't gotten sick of each other. In fact we have had a lot of fun together. I am certainly looking forward to our golden years when it's just the two of us. We will definitely enjoy these years of raising our kids together but we won't be like some couples who don't know what to do when the kids are gone. We definitely know what to do!

Rebekah has grown these last months. She is becoming such a wonderful Godly woman. I am excited to see who she is and who she is becoming. I love her because she is my best friend, I love her because we have sparks and I love her because of who she is in Christ. We like to say that we are addicted to each other. It's true!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


First the good news! Yesterday I went back to the doctor to get the results of the biopsy. No cancer! It's really wierd to have to write that. The past three weeks have been crazy but God has been good! But to wonder if you might have cancer is disconcerting at best. So I will have another CT scan in six weeks to make sure whatever was in my chest is completely gone by then.

After seeing the pulmonary specialist I went to my regular doctor. He was convinced that I had cancer. He hadn't received a report from the biopsy yet. He was happy but was almost in disbelief.

I have this wart on my index finger. I have been using over the counter stuff on it for quite sometime. But every time I put the acid on it, it would break open and bleed. Then I would have to put triple antibiotic on it and let the skin heal. The thing would grow bigger. So I told the doctor and he sprayed liquid nitrogen on it. And then he did it again and again and again. OUCH! I don't remember the last time I experienced such pain. And it is still throbbing today. The pain is bad enough that Dr. prescribed a narcotic pain reliever. So here's hoping it falls off.
(Wasn't that way more than you wanted to know about me?)

Sometimes we have to experience pain to get the results we want.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A good day!

The doctor came in after the biopsy and said that there are no tumors. I am a little fuzzy on details but basically it seems that the mass in my chest is a swollen lymph node or gland and was a pocket of infection from all the sickness I have had in my lungs. It has been a long time since I have felt that much relief. Tears welled in my eyes. God is so good! So many people have said that they felt peace this weekend when they were praying. One person even told my sister, " I am telling you right now there is no tumor."

We know God has walked with us through this. I am not completely well yet but feel that I am on the road. I woke up this morning with the beginnings of a head cold so keep praying for that. I will be preaching on Sunday morning as long as the Lord wills. Next week we will go back to the doctor to find out about the biopsy of the lymph node which the doctor is confident will show nothing but infection. Then I will see my other doctor about my heart rate which I am still taking medicine for. But all in all yesterday was a great day! God is good!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Here we go!

I haven't eaten since 11:30 last night. So I'm ready to go have something stuck down my throat. I have been waiting a week so I guess it's about time. But somehow it just seems not quite real. Thanks to all for praying for me. I have peace in my heart and I am really just wanting to preach on Sunday and get back to "normal." But I will wait on God's timing. We really have wonderful people in our church who have been so patient with me and who really just want me to be well again. They are even bringing meals starting tonight although I'm not sure I will be in the mood to swallow much. Thanks to everyone for calls and e-mails.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Before I got sick I posted about what God was saying to me through Romans 5:1-5. I skipped through the passage and picked out the word character. I even mentioned it in a sermon. The last several years when we have been about to go through a tough time God has given me a scripture verse to hold onto. This has been no exception. I went back and read this passage in Romans again. Here it is in case you are like me and will forget to look it up.

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

The portion in bold is the portion I skipped over to a degree. My thought at the time was, "well I haven't really suffered much but suffering is relative." I thought the key was learning perseverance so that God could work on developing a more Christlike character in me. I still believe that is what He is doing only I don't get to skip any of the hard parts.

As I was praying about that yesterday I wondered why God would be so concerned with my character if (and this is worst case, I was just thinking not borrowing trouble) I wasn't going to live long. It is a morbid thought but don't get caught up on it. I really felt that if God is working in this situation, and we know He is, and if God is producing a more Christlike character in me, and I believe that is what He is doing, (there's a whole Romans 8:28 thing) then I have unfinished work to do for the kingdom. As I was thinking that thought I heard that voice, the Holy Spirit, ( I haven't heard much of it lately so it was wonderful) say two words. I was thinking about the fact that God must not be finished with me if He would be working in this situation to produce character in me, the two words I heard in my Spirit were, that's hope! I have this hope in my heart. Hope is a powerful thing. And let me remind you of Romans 5:5 again " And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."