Just the Right Time    

At this time of year I often am drawn to Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law….” I love that phrase “the fullness of time.” In this case, it means at “just the right time.” God had set the conditions for Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. He combined Jewish zealotry, Roman roads, and the Koine Greek to set the stage for Jesus’ acts and for the rapid spread of the Good News.

In a more human way, I was reminded last evening once again of this “fullness of time.” A small group from First Baptist Concord went down to the Billy Graham Library to see the Christmas lights, take a carriage ride, and tour the library. As I explored Billy’s life, I began to see God’s “just the right time” in full effect.

He came onto the evangelical scene at just the right moment. He was one of the first to use mass media to share the gospel with the world. Technological advances like air travel, television, radio, and the movie industry were all employed by the BGEA to share the love of Christ with a desperate world. Even the political situation proved to be advantageous to “America’s Pastor.” He had the ear of Presidents and Prime Ministers. He was even allowed to preach behind the Iron Curtain. There’s no doubt in my mind that God orchestrated the events of Billy Graham’s life.

The amazing thing of all of this is that God equipped this young North Carolina boy “for such a time as this.” His emergence in the 20th Century was no coincidence. At just the right time, God walked Billy Graham onto the world stage, to point to the risen Jesus as the only hope for eternal life. He was a man with a purpose.

As I pondered all of this last night, I began to think about the rest of us. Do you think that God has put you in place “for such a time as this?” What has God called, equipped, and empowered you to do? You and I are in the right place at just the right time. What will we do with this moment in time? They might not ever build a library for our posterity, but will our lives even count? So, I’ve decided what I want us to do.

Let’s point to the cross of Christ…and to His empty tomb. Will you join me?
 
In Him,


A Pastor’s Plea

I’m a pastor. (“Gump, you’re a genius!”) No, I don’t mean that my job description says “Senior Pastor,” although it does. I mean that when God put me together—temperament, personality, life experiences, calling, and spiritual giftedness—He built a pastor. The thing about being put together as a Pastor is that I can never shut it off. Every situation in which I find myself the sheepdog in me is constantly herding the sheep. (Remind me to tell you about Kimber, my Australian Shepherd, and her constant herding instinct.)


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On the Move

Something happened yesterday during the invitation to respond to God’s Word. I did not expect it. I was not looking for it. I had never experienced anything like it. But, it happened.

I was attempting to clarify the invitation to respond. You know,

“If you’ve never repented of your sins and trusted in Christ’s death for you, His burial,

and His resurrection, Come to Jesus.”

“If you know Jesus, but have been living for yourself, repent and walk with Jesus.”

“If you’re looking for a church home, and believe that God has led you here, come

and join us.”


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A Song in My Mouth

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.                                                              (Psalm 40:1-3)
In many ways, Psalm 40 describes my experience with the Lord better than any other. I’m very sensitive (responsive?) to this Psalm and love its various renditions. The superstar rock band U2 put Psalm 40 to music, and it has appealed to me since I was a teen. The Christian singing group Newsong did one as well, and right this very minute their version is echoing through the corridors of my mind. I love this Psalm; it delights my soul.

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A Little Help with Christmas Music

 
I recognize that the real debate over Christmas music revolves around the question, “When is it appropriate to begin listening to the carols?” Many folks, Christians included, engage in this discussion, arguing for after Halloween, or the day after Thanksgiving, or (my favorite) all year ‘round. I confess that it is really weird to hear “Let it Snow” at a gas station on the first day of November.


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Tempered by Thanksgiving

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
                                                          (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)
 
I cannot believe that it is Thanksgiving week already! I ate a piece of pumpkin pie yesterday, and am preparing my “Big Easy” for the turkey on Thursday. I plan to spend time with my Mom & Dad, Rebecca & Tommy, and Joshua. I also plan to do much of our “togetherness” watching the three-game lineup of football games on Thursday. All my favorite things (family, food, and football) at once!


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Why I Write…

I began “blogging” back in 2006 or 2007 while pastoring my first church in Clarksdale, Mississippi. In those days, the concept was brand new and I was exploring its value in my own attempt at ministry. At that time, my blogging focused on extended Bible study. I attempted to explain the text and then apply it to our own culture and situations. (If I remember correctly, my readers wanted to hear more about the Minor Prophets, so they were my focus.) So, I primarily used the blog as a tool for further study.


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