What I Am Reading…

Something awesome just happened in the practical execution of my ministry day! I was contemplating my need to publish a blog post for this week. As I was trying to develop a coherent thought for the post, I received a phone call. The caller, who was present last night during our Adult Discipleship time, asked me for the name of the book I referenced in my time of teaching. Then I thought, if she wanted to know the name of the book, perhaps others would like to know what I am currently reading, too. Then, bang! I figured, what a great topic for a blog post. The rest, as they say, is history.


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Looking toward the Future

Churches in this 21st Century America face a great many challenges. Our flirtation with the god of this world in the areas of illegitimate power, ill-gotten money, and identifying passions have rooted itself in our practices, to the extent that we have accepted them as a matter of course. In many ways, the American church has strengthened itself in its own flesh – doing the best that man and money can do – while ignoring God’s power and program. And, if all this were not bad enough, we are failing to make disciples in our own families, creating a mission field out of the very ones who we ought to count on as the next generation of disciple-makers.

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Why I believe in VBS…

This week, many of our church members are gearing up for our Vacation Bible School. Next week, our church grounds will be flooded (I hope!) with 5 year-olds through sixth graders coming to get their Game On! It will be a big week for our church; perhaps the biggest of the whole year.

You may wonder why churches, and ours in particular, still host Vacation Bible Schools each summer. It takes so much preparation, it’s exhausting, and uses many resources. Plus, churches all over do it. Why not let a few just have it?

First, it’s one of the few outreach events churches offer to which parents are still willing to bring their children. According to a recent Lifeway research poll, 69% of parents polled stated they would allow their children to attend VBS if invited. Did you get that? Seven out of ten, even among the unchurched, are okay with their kids going to VBS! This research alone should motivate churches to get behind VBS.


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What I’m Thinking About…

Wow! It seems like forever since I’ve put pen to paper for our church’s blog. Since last I wrote, Myra and I have travelled to Florida and the Caribbean. Most of you have heard about our trip. For those that haven’t, the highlight was our celebrating 25 years of marriage. We are so thankful to the Lord for bringing us together and keeping us united. To God be the Glory!

Our trip was not the only reason for my failure to write. I have a great many things on my mind, but I have not sufficiently developed any of them to share with you. (Sometimes it’s a scary thing to be in my mind!) But, since I want you to continue this journey with me, I thought that I would at least let you know what’s occupying my gray matter.


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Summertime Blues

I hate to confess this, but I’m a music junkie. I love all kinds of music. In fact, with every season of the year, and my life, I have an internal soundtrack that is on continual loop. When it comes to this time of year there are a few I cannot escape: School’s Out (for Summer), Changes in Latitude, Dream On, and Summertime Blues. Various reasons exist for each of those songs bounding around my head during summer, but suffice it to say, they are ever-present. 

Summertime Blues speaks of a young man’s obligation to work all summer long instead of enjoying it. In fact, I suppose that after twelve to sixteen years of living on a schedule that included summers being off, it’s difficult for a person to actually have to grow up. Through the whole song the singer bemoans the fact of having to work instead of enjoying (being lazy) the summer. 


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In Community

Well I hate to see this evening end, God only knows when I’ll see you again. Send a fax or send me a letter or give me a call that will even be better.”  From I’m Alright by Jo Dee Messina.

On the way in to the office this morning, I was flipping around on the radio and heard this country song from way back in the 1990s. I don’t usually listen to country, don’t know many songs, and of the songs I do know I don’t know the lyrics too well. But, this tune is pretty catchy, and so I began to listen more intently. I laughed at the “send me a fax” line; it was so last century. I’m surprised it didn’t say anything about pagers…or telegraphs.


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Not to startle you, but…

A lie has crept into our thinking and it affects churches everywhere. We hear it, believe it, repeat it, strategize for it, and fool ourselves into making it challenge number one in our strategy to expand God’s kingdom. Our business meetings seem to corroborate it, the news reports it, and preachers preach according to it. What lie is this? “We are our own worst enemy.”

We really believe that if we could just form the right mission statement, adopt the right programs, have the right music, hire the right pastor, or collect the right kind of people that there would not be anything to attack us as Christ’s church. The Bible, however, PROMISES opposition. There just is not any way around it.


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It’s Friday…but Sunday’s coming.

S.M. Lockridge is one of my favorite go-to preachers when I just want to get lost in the person of Jesus the Christ. He pastored for over forty years, mostly at Calvary Baptist Church in Sand Diego. The conclusion of his sermon “That’s my King” (“do you know Him?”) has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times as it lives on via the internet, and if you haven’t seen it, you ought to stop reading this blog and go watch that video. 

Each year during Holy Week as I mark off the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry, my heart and mind returns to Lockridge’s sermon “It’s Friday…but Sunday’s coming.” As he reflected on the evils leading to Jesus’ death (“It’s Friday. The world is winning, people are sinning, evil is grinning. It’s Friday…but Sunday’s coming.”) Lockridge reminded his hearers that even though things look bad, Resurrection Day was just a few days from now. 


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Preparing for “Holy Week”

This week, along with my other sermons, I have turned my attention to structuring our celebration of “Holy Week”—the week bookended by Palm Sunday and Resurrection Day. I have been struggling with the order of worship for our Maundy Thursday service—attempting  to honor His death without acting as if He’s not presently alive—and seeking a passage for our Resurrection Day sunrise service and main worship hour. These spiritual struggles/studies/meditations have impacted me in some very profound ways. Here’s what I’ve been thinking… 

First, the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of every Christian. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that the bedrock of our faith was the veracity of Christ’s resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12-19). He wrote to the Romans that one had to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead in order to be saved (Rom. 10:9-10). He preached so much about Jesus and His resurrection that the philosophers in Athens mistook the resurrection for a foreign god (Acts 17:18).  We must believe that the Father raised His Son from the dead—physically from the dead


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A Sweet-smelling Aroma

I must preface this post by stating the obvious: I’m not from around here. I married into Cabarrus county—I married pretty well, I might add—and so I know that I bring an “outsider’s” perspective to everything I encounter. But YOU, dear reader, need to realize this perspective, because my assessment of things might not be “the accepted take” on Concord. I will now proceed… 

There are several things—unique and wonderful—that I think of when I think of my new home in Concord. While I’ve only lived here for five and a half months, I’ve maintained these thoughts over years of visiting the area. These markers distinguish Concord from any number of other places in North Carolina, the United States, and even the world.


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