Monday, October 3, 2011

A well deserved face plant!

OK -I'm not necessarily a Bears fan or a fan of Marion Barber - but this is just nuts. After a TD Barber attempts a grandstanding back flip and winds up doing a spectacular face plant! Maybe it's just me, but I'm not a fan of the showboating that goes on in sports. Whether it's the TD dances or the "in your face" antics when a QB is sacked. I say just make the play, get back to the huddle and do it again.

But then I wonder how much of this creeps into the church? I'm not thinking of anything particular at HCC, but how many times does God do something spectacular and we take the credit? I see people get mad because they were not applauded for serving - and have to wonder who are they really serving? As a church tries to follow God's clear vision and folks leave because they are not being "fed". Go to any large preacher function and you will see the "pecking order" established by how many come to the church or how big the buildings are. To me it seems like the post TD antics are not limited to the NFL.

Don't get me wrong - I think cow bells and air horns at a baptism are AWESOME!!! We need more cowbell! But when our calling and service becomes a reason for showmanship - we have missed the mark! It concerns me when people will applaud a funny joke in a sermon - but not sing during the the song service?

Maybe the spirit of Andy Rooney has fallen on me (I'm feeling a little crotchety today) or maybe I should just not blog on a Monday... but I think Barber got what he deserved! And I know that any time I am tempted to take the credit from God - I get what I deserve - a big fat face plant!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coming Up Short

I like Monday Night Football - OK I like football period. And while watching MNF last night I was reminded of something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

In the game, the St Louis Rams were playing the NY Giants. Now I'm not particularly a fan of either team. NY has Eli Manning at the helm - certainly a star in his own right while the Rams are led by a young Turk named Sam Bradford.

What was interesting about the game was how the Rams dominated on offense yet still lost. On paper they should have won. What was the deciding factor? Turn overs, and an inability to score from "red zone" (that's area from the 20 yard line to your end zone).

That is why it made me think. How often in the church do we dominate on offense and yet fail to score? What I've been chewing on lately is this. I think we are just too busy. We have too much going on. And sadly a lot of activity does not equal spiritual growth. Along with the staff and Elders, we have been reading a book titled, "Simple Church". The premise is that we need a clear process where we lead people along a structured path. A path that goes from someone not knowing God to connecting with Him and His people. Then moving them onto discipleship and service.

What I'm realizing, along with others is that a lot of activity is just that, a lot of activity. So some changes are coming. You'll have to wait to see what that means, but it is coming.

While losing a game on Monday Night is bad for the Rams. Losing the battle for souls is unimaginably worse. Let's all make sure we are not dominating on offense and yet failing to win!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When a toothache is a good thing...

It could be because I never went to a dentist until I was an adult. It could be because we did not have dental insurance for years. It could be because I don't floss. It could be I just have bad teeth. But whatever the cause I wound up with a throbbing tooth ache over the weekend.

Some left over Percocet (thanks to Melody's kidney stone) got me through till Monday morning. Finally I got into the chair. You KNOW the chair. In my case, it was a chair in Larry's "Little shop of Horrors". OK so he's not really that bad, but I was not there for a hair cut. I had an abscess in a tooth that had been previously filled. I was hearing those wonderful words - "We're going to have to do a root canal". Been there, done that - no fun!

Now, I like my dentist. I miss Ershal - but Larry's a pretty good egg. Larry is also Jewish. Over the last few weeks we have actually talked a bit about our faith. Today, on my second of at least three visits we talked a little more in depth. Now, I'm not saying I had the chance to share the gospel with him. But I'm hoping some day I will.

So why did I have a toothache? Was it bad dental hygiene - maybe? But maybe it was a divine appointment. Maybe it was to sow a seed. Maybe it was God using me to reach out to one of his "chosen people".

We all come in contact every day with "chosen people"... not just the Jewish variety either. Are we taking the opportunity to share Jesus? Or are we just there to take care of the issue at hand? As disciples the issue at hand is ALWAYS about being Jesus to those who don't know him.

Thanks Lord for the toothache.... Now you and me have a dental bill we need to discuss.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Picture is worth a 1,000 words

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. And this picture says way more than that.

At first glace it is three of our youth praying over some backpacks. Three of 364 that are being handed out to homeless men and women in Nashville today. This was a cooperative effort from HCC and several other churches to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

But there is so much more for me than just this (not that this is not simply AMAZING!). During the time of worship I was sitting next to Beth, my 29 year old daughter. And we were both in tears. And I was reflecting. I was remembering how 13 years earlier our family had moved from Louisville to Georgetown. I was remembering how difficult it was for Beth, who was just turning 16. How she had gone from being a big fish in a little pond (small Christian school), to being the "New Kid" a Scott County High School. I was remembering how she hated it, maybe hated us, and possibly God for the upheaval in her world.

As I was holding her hand I whispered... "Do you realize there are more Jr an Sr High kids here right now than there were total people at HCC back then?" I was overwhelmed by God's grace to me, my family, our church, and my daughter. She looked at me and said, "I would do it all again"....

John said it best in 3 John 3:4 - "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth".

I'm so proud of you baby! It is an unbelievable blessing to share this ministry with our family! It is awesome that I get to share it with you! Now where did I put those tissues?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thanks Melba (and Paul)

It's that time again. It's the time of year wheen my mailbox is stuffed with graduation announcements and party invitations. And while my schedule doesn't allow me to attend very many, it does remind me of my own graduation. It was May 28, 1977.

But more than the date, I'm reminded of who was there with me. Melba (Wilson) Mastin and her late husband, Paul Wilson. They were there instead of my parents. My dad was undergoing open heart surgery in Houston TX the very same day so my parents couldn't be there.

But that wasn't the only day "they were there". My mom and dad were pretty "wishy-washy" in their faith back then. But I was very active in the church youth group, and was planning on attending Bible college. Paul and Melba were youth sponsors. But they were also in many ways surrogate parents for me.

I probably spent more nights in their home my senior year than I did my own. It was at their home I met some guys from Moody Bible Institute. And that wound up being a big part of the reason I attended MBI. Two years later they drove the 400 miles to Freeport, IL to attend my wedding. I could go on for days talking about the impact this couple had on my life.

Twenty years ago Paul went home to be with the Lord. I remember my friend Tom (his son-in-law) calling me and saying, "Paul went home today". I remember at his funeral the passage used by Pastor Faulkner - it was a passage about Barnabas and he attributed it to Paul Wilson - He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. (Acts 11:24 NIV)

Few people have affected me as much as these two did back then and even now. I am forever grateful.

So the question I have for you is this. In 33 years who will be remembering what you did for them today? Who will be reminiscing about the impact you made on their lives.

Thank you Melba and Paul for being Jesus to me and so many others!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What can we learn about power outages?

So you know the drill. A storm is raging and all of a sudden the lights go out. Sometimes for a moment, sometimes for hours. When it's back on you have to do some things. You have to go back to work on the computer (hopefully you had saved what you were working on). You have to reset the clock on the stove and microwave and maybe another clock or two. You have to do something with the VCR (or just live with the blinking like I do).

But sometimes the power outages have nothing to do with a lightning strike, sometimes it's some unfortunate driver hitting a pole, or some equipment failure... but the results at your house are the same. You have to reset a bunch of stuff.

But what about the spiritual power outages in your life? What about the times when God doesn't seem very near. Or you realize you have drifted away from Him? What causes this?

Sometimes it's just apathy - you lose that first love, your relationship with Jesus has been on autopilot for some time and then bang - you realize the power is out.

Sometimes it's sin - you have let some unchecked transgression get a hold on your life. And now you realize you are "on your own".

For whatever reason you find yourself far away from God in this relationship - so what do you do?

Well - just like resetting the clocks in your house you need to do some similar things.

1 - You need to know what time it really is. Spend time in the Word, and prayer - get in touch with God again.

2 - Reset your life's "clock" - Begin again living according to God's time line, His direction, His Lordship.

3 - In some cases damage has been done - I had to replace a whole lot of stuff in my house once because we took a direct hit. Maybe there are some things in your life that just have to go. And be replaced with other things. Maybe there are some relationships that need to be mended.

"For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Mat 24:27 NIV)

Remember Jesus is coming again (and maybe soon) - don't let him come and find your "clock" blinking!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend Reflections

Wow - what an amazing weekend!

Friday - Mel-O-Day!!!!! We went to Kroger and spent almost $200.00 but saved $148 using coupons - whooo hoooo! Friday evening wedding rehearsal for Rachel Owens and Brian Putty. I normally don't like doing weddings - this was an exception big time!

Saturday - Wedding and receptions at Circa 1840 - amazing place and food - and got a hug from Daniel Harrison!

Saturday night - Worship at HCC. Jeremy Zeller and his crew were amazing. Three baptisms and the "altar" littered with people letting God have His way in their lives!

Sunday - Two more awesome services at HCC. More lives rocked by Jesus Christ!

Sunday evening - Beth, Dale, and the girls come out for steaks and to celebrate Mother's Day with the most wonderful woman in the world - MY WIFE!!!!

And somewhere in there my fantastic neighbor fixed my push mower, and sharpened the blade on my riding mower. Only downer - I discovered why my yard is not being cut even... a bent blade.....

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Pet 4:8 (NIV)