I have another confession to make. I have changed my approach to evangelism. I know I will get hammered by some of my former churches but I have changed! I used to be the Evangelism Minister at a large church in a metro area in the Southeast. It was my job to train our church how to do evangelism. Each week our pastor, who truly has a passion for lost people, had us turn in a list of people we had shared our faith with that week. The staff had to have a least three people listed and one had to be a gospel presentation. Because I was the "Evangelism Guru" I had to have at least 4-5 on my list. I am all about accountability, but this got to be a burden that the staff couldn't handle. We would go knock on doors in a very afluent area of town and offend just about everyone. The only people who liked us coming were already Christians, but even most of them didn't like our visits.
In order to find 3 people to write on our list the staff would find contacts anywhere we could. We would write down the name of Abdul or Hank at the 7-11 if we handed our business card. If one week you had 7 contacts, you would "bank" 3-4 so you could put their names down on another week.
I have the gift of evangelism. When I share my faith, more times then not people make decisions for Christ. Although, the way we did it here felt very fake or even shady. I felt like a Used Car Salesman trying to "earn your bidness!" Our goal was to get them down the isle and "close the deal!" I taught an evangelism program that is popular in many circles today. I was at a conference and 2 ministers asked me at dinner to show them how it worked. They dared me to share with the waitress. I went thru the process and she accepted Christ. Evangelism works, but I had no relationship with this lady and it was in Naples, FL so how could I follow up? I was able to put another notch on my belt but something is missing.
I feel much better about how I share my faith today. I hang out @ Starbucks and other secular places in order to build relationships with the un-churched. A New Kind of Christian was a book that shared my thoughts. Today, I want to meet my neighbors and become their friends. And because I am their friend, I will tell them about Jesus. I'm no longer out to put more Notches on my belt!
Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty of Tulsa, OK greeted a man during the invitation Sunday and was belted in the face by an obviously disturbed man. Pastor Daugherty was dazed but kept preaching and fogiving! WAY TO GO PASTOR DAUGHERTY!! With so many pastors and Christian leaders embarrassing the "church" it is refreshing to see a man of God!
I hope I could act as graceful as Pastor Daugherty. Pastors are human and we hurt and bleed like everyone else. Just look at the picture. Words and gossip hurt worse than getting punched. When we act like Christ, we may be vilified but in the end Christ is honored. Grace wins! Love wins! Prudence wins! God wins!
This morning a couple who is not even in my ministry area came by to take a photo of me. They are an older couple who just came to thank me for my ministry and attitude. Now I have ranted on my blog but I have not said one word in the church about our situation. I visited the man's father in the hospital on several occasions and he passed away. They were grateful to me for visiting their father. It was my honor.
I have learned the hard way doing things Christ's way wins in the end. I have not always done it His way. Even recently, I strayed in my attitude. Thanks to my friends for reminding me. Jason your the best! Your email was prophetic! Christ-like attitudes win in the end!
Look, I know I am a sinner. I have a long way to go in my faith. I don't ever want to be famous because I'm afraid of the pressure it will bring. My brother in law(David) and sister(Jenn) were on staff with Athletes in Action (part of Campus Crusade) for many years. David said he was tired of lifting up athletes because the higher they got the further they fell.
Now, I'm beginning to understand. Michael Irvin formerly of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Hurricanes was arrested again yesterday, this time for speeding. The officer found a drug pipe in his car. He claims it is not his. I really hope it is not. You see Irvin has suppose to have become a Christian. Now I realize we all fail. I do it everyday. But before we go on the 700 Club and TBN promoting our faith we had better watch what we do. I really like Michael Irvin. I will pray for him. Even if he messed up, I will love him as a fellow Christian. But I am done pointing out Christian Celebs to my children friends and my church.
Thanks to MMI at Church Staffing.com I have some more great ideas for the Pharisee in your life. Todd Rhodes said these are things he doesn't want for Christmas which means they would be perfect for Pharisees.
This is the IWJO pin which stands for I Watch Joel Osteen. Now I actually do love to watch him, but please this goes a little far.
I can't even comment on this one.
I didn't know that God and the Bible were against Rock Music. I would like to see the passage of Scripture that shows it.
"ONE-OF-A-KIND item from the now closed Heritage USA Christian Theme Park which was run by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.
How many millions did they milk little old ladies to help pay for their greed!
I hope these were helpful to you as you make your Christmas purchases for your favorite Pharisee.
TMI or TOO MUCH INFORMATION! In the circles I run when a person tells too much we say that was TMI! I confess, I am guilty at times. I am thankful for friends who aren't afraid to tell me the truth. I appreciate Jason and Angela for lovingly rebuking me for my rants this weekend. There will be no buts accept my foot kicking mine! I thank God for my friends who love me enough to point out my rough areas. I am truly blessed. My dad will keep me in line. Thomas Hammond has gotten in my head on many occasions. Cass will point out when I'm out of step with reality. I appreciate the care that these people have for me. I'm not perfect. I am a work in progress. I fail! I'm just grateful for God's grace. I'm thankful for friends and family who love me enough to be honest! Thanks!
Today was a very hard day. I finally told our church and especially our students that I am resigning as Next Gen Pastor at First Baptist Tillman's Corner. This has been a very difficult decision. I really feel for the students. They have been through more than they deserve. To the students, I am sorry. I'm sorry it came to this. We had no intentions of leaving so soon. Unfortunately, we had no idea what we were coming in to.This is not a fault of any of the students. They are innocent in this whole mess. I truly am sorry.
In June a friend of mine Thomas Hammond who used to work for the North American Mission Board of the SBC and is now the Director of Missions for Charlotte, NC SBC called and asked me to send him a resume. In August Durham Memorial Baptist in Charlotte called me for the very first time. I sent them a DVD of me speaking and they called back the same night. They asked me to come for a visit a week after Katrina. I did not want to go. But several friends said I need to at least go. I gave them a plan that was very bold and progressive. They told me they liked every one of my plans! A month later, Cassandra and I flew to Charlotte. Last Sunday I spoke to a crowd of over 300. My message was very bold and visionary. We will make changes. We will start a contemporary service. We will be a "church planting" church! We will be a missions minded church! The vote was 98% for us. They are a great group of people and made us feel very loved. The calling was certain for us.
We sold our house in 30 hours for over asking price a week before we left. We put a contract on a house this past Tuesday before we flew back to Mobile. We have mixed feelings. We are sorry for the Students @ FBTC. I'm sorry my kids have to move again. I'm sorry for Cassandra to start over again. We will miss our friends in Mobile. I am grateful to the Harbins, the Vises, Angela, Whitney, Greg the storm, John-JMO, Ray, Joe, Neil, Scott Bannon, Pates, Jesse, Derek Blackmon, Soupie, Devon, Betti, Spots, Mike, The Fosters, Aaron Bradley, Joel Faircloth, Nuss', Keel's and other who have supported me and my family. Dr. Pouncey is a good man and he has been supportive of me.
I'm excited for what is to come. I love big cities. Charlotte is a cool town. I love NASCAR so I will be in the right place. We will be an hour and half from my parents and sister. This is not going to be easy. But Durham has a great group of servant leaders already in place. I'm glad I've met Marty Duren who is transitioning a church in Atlanta. I'm happy to have Jason Burns to bounce stuff off of. I am blessed. God has taught me so much during this last 3 years. God has taught me more about being submitted to him rather than committed.
With Christmas approaching, finding the right Judgmental gifts will be difficult. That is what I am here for:
CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
Author: David CloudTo our knowledge this is the most extensive examination of Contemporary Christian Music in print. It features: The spiteful anti-fundamentalist attitude which permeates CCM. The intimate connection between end-time apostasy and CCM. Southern gospel yesterday and today. The love affair between CCM musicians and secular rock music. The ecumenicalism of Contemporary Christian Music. The close association of CCM with Roman Catholicism. The intimate connection between CCM and the Charismatic Movement. An encyclopedia of 200 CCM musicians, containing profiles of their lives and ministries, church affiliations, philosophies, ecumenical associations, music, etc. Documentation proving that CCM is owned largely by secular corporations. Lyrics to CCM songs illustrating the vagueness and heresy of their message. (I took this straight from their website!)EXAMINING "THE KING JAMES ONLY CONTROVERSY"Author: DAVID CLOUDThis is an extensive and careful examination of James Whiteís book "Examining the King James Only Controversy." I did not read in Whiteís book long before I realized that it is misnamed. It should be titled The Ruckman-Riplinger Controversy, because White paints the entire movement in defense of the King James Bible with the brush of these two individuals. Whiteís book appears, at first glance, to be an unemotional, objective, scholarly approach to the topic of Bible texts and versions. In reality, it is a vicious slander upon those who are defenders of the King James Bible and the Received Text underlying the KJV and other great Reformation Bibles. He implies throughout that every KJV defender is either a raving lunatic or an ignorant extremist. He ignores or passes over slightly, even flippantly, the great issues of the KJV defense, focusing, instead, upon the most indefensible representations. (again, straight from their website)HAS THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION BEEN RESCUED FROM LIBERALISM?Author: DAVID CLOUDThis book examines the situation within the SBC since the "conservative" takeover and warns against the move by some independent Baptists to join the SBC. The author contends that the Southern Baptist Convention is an unholy alliance of New Evangelicals, Modernists, and Ecumenists. Baptists who want to obey the Bible's command to mark and avoid error and to not be yoked together with unbelievers cannot join the SBC. Chapters include "When Was the Southern Baptist Convention Rescued from Liberalism?" "Charismatic Southern Baptists," "SBC Affirms Commitment to Liberal Baptist World Alliance," "Christ-denier Speaks at Southern Baptist Church," "SBC Congregation Asks God to Bless Homosexual Unions," "Jerry Falwell Attends Southern Baptist Convention," "SBC Works with Liberal China Christian Council," "President of SBC University Attacks the Word of God."
I hope these are helpful for the Pharisees in your family! Have a legalistic holiday season!
Actor Pat Morita Dies at 73
Pat Morita who played Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kiddied. I love that movie. There are a lot of spiritual parallels in the way he trained Daniel. Pat also starred in Happy Days in its early years. I hate to see that he died, he will be missed.
Thanks to a man who left our church(who thought we were liberals) I have a gift subsription to the poster child of legalism THE SWORD OF THE LORD. It is good for a laugh.
This is a 12oz Coffee mug with a picture of THE SWORD featuring all the editors: Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Curtis Hutson, and Dr. Shelton Smith. Every Pharisee needs this!
Here are songs of praise, testimony and revival. A collection of 60 gospel filled songs penned by the beloved evangelist, Dr. John R. Rice. Every church planter must have!Here is an important work on the definition of fundamentalism. This is a term that has been greatly misused and misunderstood by the media, educators and even fundamental Christians themselves. Dr. Hutson is more than qualified to write an authoritative study on the question, "Who is a fundamentalist?" This title is also available in pamphlet edition. We all must have this!When Becky Reynolds sits down to play the piano her music is captivating, which you will notice as you listen to these Christmas favorites. The songs included here are: "The First Noel", "O Little Town of Bethlehem", "Brahm's Lullaby-Away In a Manger", "O Come All Ye Faithful", "Silent Night", "Joy to the World", "Angels We Have Heard on High", "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night", "O Holy Night". I can't wait to get mine!
I hope this has been helpful to you . I hope every Pharisees Christmas wishes will be met!! Have a Pharisic Christmas!
Don't get me wrong I love Christmas and Easter because all they represent in Christianity. However, my favorite holiday has to be Thanksgiving! There is nothing commercial about it! All you do is give thanks, eat, watch football and spend time with family and friends. It was good to see my parents this week. I can't wait to watch the Macy's Parade with Hope. Jacob and I will overdose on the LIONS and the COWBOYS. Mostly I will thank God for all of the blessings He has given to me. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!
In August people asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I wanted cash because I wanted to purchase a new Palm handheld. I did my research and discovered I could get the Palm T5 during the month of August and get a free wi-fi card. I called the Palm representative to ask even more questions and asked if there was something else coming out soon that I should wait on. I didn't want to regret buying the T5 if something were coming out in the next few weeks. The rep assured me there was nothing new coming out. So I made my purchase towards the end of August before the free wi-fi card expired.
A few weeks later I'm in Atlanta and stopped by the Palm store and there it was the Palm T/X. It is $50 cheaper with a larger screen and built in wi-fi. I was sick!
Our world is like that. You go to Best Buy and buy a new Sony Vaio and by the time you get home and pull it out of the box it is obsolete! Our churches are like that. We have got to be constantly changing or we are going to miss the boat. Companies don't make long range plans anymore because society is constantly changing. We have to study people, especially the unchurched and discover ways to relate to them.
I love the apostle Paul. He was all about reaching people for Christ. He was the first relevant minister after the death of Jesus. Paul said in I Corinthians 9 that he was going to be all things to all people in order that he might win some. He was willing to do whatever it takes! He was like this guy, GIT R DONE!
Too bad churches don't go with that mentality. What if we said, lets do it. Lets reach people for Christ. Lets be all things to all people. Lets throw out tradition if it isn't relevant. Lets be real. Lets make a real difference in our communities. Lets really love people. Lets accept them no matter what their background or how they dress or how much or little money they have or what are their sinful patters. Lost people will act like lost people. It is time to get serious church and do whatever it takes, I mean whatever it takes to reach our lost and dying world. This is my one true passion that I am willing to take to my grave!
congrats to the school that specializes in agricultural studies. They whipped the frat rats from t-town. i can't believe i will have to listen to war turkey for another year. ughh! o well, they beat us. 9-2 was much better than i thought we would be at the beginning of the season. we will be back.
Mobile Minister, Kevin Bussey who was arrested by the Church Police earlier this week has apparently escaped Officer/Pastor Fred Phelps reported on through his website http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/aboutwbc.html.
They believe that the breakout occured early this morning. Surveillance photos showed this man believed to be Joe Kennedy. Kennedy reportedly faked his own death recently to avoid prosecution from the church police. Pat Robinson has called for an all out manhunt for both Kennedy and Bussey. Jerry Falwell has called their antics heretical and asked that all fundementalists beware of both of them.
There is a possiblity that they have escaped to Newnan, Georgia and may be held by this man Jason Burns whom the church police have targeted for his unorthdox methods and his church marketing. Remember the glove.
These men are armed and dangerous. They may be packing illegal Bibles such as the NIV, NASB and God forbid the Message. They are habitual blogers and have attended heretical conferences like Catalyst, Passion, Atlanta Fest, The Purpose Driven Church Conference, Xpantion and Barneytour. They also have attended antended churches that are not on the approved Church Police church list such as Northpoint, Saddleback and Willowcreek. Anyone who knows of their whereabouts is urged to call the church police @ 1-800-pharise.
A local minister was arrested today by the Church Police forconduct unbecoming a Pharisee. Kevin Bussey of Bradbury Ct. in Mobile, Alabama was taken into custody by Pastor Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS. Officer/Rev. Phelps claims that Bussey, a recovering Pharisee has betrayed his faith. Count one complains that Bussey no longer uses God's word. He has become a liberal because he uses the NIV, NASB and the Message. Count two complains he blogs and posts regularly on the ooze. Count three is because he is an associate of Joe Kennedy a.k.a. the 6th Beatle who recently faked his own death to avoid his own arrest by the church police. His whereabouts are unknown and a APB has been issued. Anyone knowing his whereabouts are urged to call the Church Police at 1-800-PHARISE.
If convicted Bussey will be taken back to Topeka, KS and ordered to go through detox. He will relearn the KJV and how to hate other people. He will learn how to deliver angry sermons and alienate the entire world. He then will be ordered to enter the PhD programs @ Bob Jones University and Pensacola Christian. Following his graduation he will be hired on by the Sword of the Lord. His personal drill sargent will be Dr. Shelton Smith. The emergent church has denied any involment with Bussey and has left him out to fend for himself.
The Church Police from the far left and far right!!!!
I am so sick of this. I just posted about those idiots from the Church of the Divide in California. No I didn't make up that name--how appropriate for their actions. Then Joe Kennedy posted this post. We have church police on the right and the left. I can't believe people would hurt Kyle Lakes family after he died a horrible death baptizing a person. How sick can you be! But then Cecil Sherman of the liberal wing called the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (Uncooperative if you ask me) said this about Adrian Roger's death:
He was a man of enormous gifts, but I tell you what-- I think they were put to a terrible cause," Sherman, who served as the first coordinator of the moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, said. "I take no pleasure in his dying, [but] the results of his efforts in other days caused me and many people great pain.
This has to tear out the heart of God. I didn't agree with everything Adrian Rogers did but the man loved God, his family, his church and the SBC. He and Sherman may have disagreed but how dare him say something that insensitive following Roger's death. I hope Sherman doesn't get the same treatment upon his death. My goodness, what have we become?
This kind of stuff really angers me. No wonder the world doesn't take the church seriously. Church group faces off against another over subsidized gas. I don't understand
why the CHURCH POLICE feel it is their God-given right to attack other chruches. Do they not have anything better to do with their lives. Go out and win some people to Christ. Go and do somthing constructive. I am so tired of Christians criticizing Christians! I pray that the church will quit nit-picking and start being the Church!
Adrian Rogers former pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN died today. I always respected his passion for the church. I didn't always agree with his methods, but the man loved God and the SBC. He just recently retired from Bellevue. You have to wonder if he knew God was calling him home. I thank God for people like Adrian because he laid the ground work for many of the conservative Biblical teaching that goes on in SBC Seminaries. I'm sure when he entered heaven, God said well done my good and faithful servant!
I love the internet. It connects me with so many people. I can e-mail people all over the world. Blogs allow me to learn so much from other people. Thanks to Blogs I have new friends. Thanks to my friend Joe Kennedy I have a new friend Marty Duren. We talked on the phone yesterday for over an hour. I would have never met him without the internet. We found out we have a mutual friend, Thomas Hammond that has been the closest thing I had as a mentor. Jason Burns runs in different circles then me since he is in the "church planting" world. I learn so much from him and the blogs that he recommends to read.
Today I was talking to my friend Todd McGee @ the Grove about needing a church coach or consultant and he told me to contact Dale Galloway, his former Dean @ the Beeson Pastors school in KY. Dale has moved to Arizona and his wife is on staff at Scottsdale Bible Church in Scottsdale, AZ. I e-mailed her to ask if she could put me in touch with her husband. Not only did she respond, but she gave me his e-mail address and his Cell #! WOW! This is a big-time Church leader who is very much in demand. I am amazed at how my connections allow me to meet people I would never have the opportunity to rub shoulders with. Cool! God is good!
Dr. Al Mohler is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. I rarely agree with his views because he appears to me to be more politcial than theological. However, I read his blog because he makes me think. Recently he commented on The Rove/Wilson/Plame controversy. His story is called What's Missing in the Karl Rove-Joseph Wilson Affair? The Church. Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, has accused White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove of leaking word that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame. The ironic thing about this whole affair is that the Rove's and Wilson's attend the same church!
1 Corinthians 6:1-6 says"When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud--even your own brothers!"
I agree with Mohler that it is hard to take the politics out of this because Wilson has criticized President Bush. But these men go to the same church! They should be showing the love of Christ to the world not hatred. Why would anyone who is not a follower of Jesus want this kind of "Christianity?"
A few years ago my parents sold a refridgerator to a "Christian" friend. The former friends didn't pay my parents. My dad just let it go because of this scripture. When I lived in Cherokee County, GA I met a lawyer named Curtis who was no longer practicing regular law. He was a "Christian" Mediator. What he does is mediate between believers. If a "Christian" couple was considering divorce, they would agree not to retain lawyers and allow him to mediate their grievances. COOL! If there was a dispute between believers or churches, he would mediate based on the Bible! What an awesome concept! I believe we need more of this in our society. We as the church need to act like the church not vengful suing Americans!
I recently was trying to find a workout that Cassandra and I could do together. I am a workout junkie. I workout at least 4-5 times a week out in my garage. I know you will laugh but I bought the Fitness Made Simple45Min FAT BURNING WORKOUT. Go ahead and rip it but the stuff works. It really is simple. But I didn't want to watch John Basedow everyday I workout so I wrote down every workout so we can do it on our own. But in the DVD, John really shows how simple it is to workout. Any novice could do it.
When I started really working out years ago I went to a Gold's Gym in Beaumont, TX. I was 155 pounds soaking wet. I was an avid runner, in fact I ran 7-10 miles a day. But I wanted to have more muscle tone so I started lifting weights. One of the trainers befriended me and showed me step by step how to work out. I still use his routine today. I gained 30 pounds of pure muscle in a few short months. I became the massive man that I am today! (ha!) But it would not have happened had I not had my friend pushing me.
It got me thinking about spirtuality. How many people come to church or accept Christ somewhere but don't have "spiritual" coaches or trainers to help them grow. How many Christians are like the people who join health clubs in January only to quit by the 3rd week. They say it doesn't work for them because no one showed them how. The word we use today to describe this kind of training is "Discipleship." But I'm not talking about Discipleship Training or Training Union. I'm talking about one-on-one or small group discipleship like I got in college with Campus Outreach.
Too often churches make it hard to grow in our faith. We have to jump thru hoops and follow the mold that the church has used for years. Reggie McNeal in his book The Present Future says that churches need to operate more like the YMCA. We should take people thru Orientations. We need to each have personal trainers. Our relationship with Christ shouldn't be so difficult. We need Spirituality Made Simple.
I love NASCAR. Call me a redneck if you will but I love the sport. I got to go to the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC a few years ago and WOW what a rush. The sounds are awesome and the vibrations give you chills. The colors of the cars are so much brighter in person than they are on TV.
Friday, reigning Nextel Cup Champion, Kurt Busch was arrested for reckless driving. This is not the first run in with the law or NASCAR. Read story here. He has been suspended by NASCAR for reckless driving on the track. Roush Racing suspended him for the rest of the season which means he will never drive for them again. Roush said they don't want to be Kurt appologists anymore. They have forgiven him in the past but they finally got sick of dealing with him.
What about other athletes like Dennis Rodman, Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, etc.... The list goes on. Jesus said to forgive 70 X 7 but when do you discipline and when do you forgive? I wish I knew the answer. God seems to discipline me daily but others seem to get away with murder. How do we show forgiveness in a lost world when people need discipline? Just wondering?
Alright, I blasted Rush, Pat and Jerry the other day so now the left. Jesse Jackson is getting his nose in another area it doesn't belong. Check out this story. Why does he make everything about race? I know there are still racists, I live in Mobile and encounter them daily. But TO is a rich spoiled brat and the Eagles had every right to suspend him. Any good company would do the same wouldn't they? I can't imagine IBM or Coke allowing an employee to trash fellow employees on national TV. Jesse is suppose to be a minister but I never here him talk about God. He is always about politics. Why do we have extemists on the right and the left? Jesse shut up!
If you haven't noticed, I love change! There is something about doing things differently that excites me. I like a change in seasons. I love fall unfortunately we don't have one in Mobile. We have to seasons here, hot and hotter. Anyway, I love to see lives changed. II Corinthians 5:17 is one of my favorite verses--"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" I love new things. I love to travel. I love to take different ways so I can see new places. I love new gadgets. I love new music. I don't like changes in my family though-- I have just one wife and she has put up with me for over 17 years! Wow, she's a saint!
Because I like change, I changed my blog again. I'm sure it will change again in the near future. I have a feeling there will be lots of changes in my life, why? Because I like change! I like to learn because it makes me change. I like to read because the ideas make me change. How boring life would be without change. Change is good. Status quo is bad. I think Jesus has a way of shaking us up so we will change. So join the change revolution! Choose change because change is good!
I wish I wasn't so comptetive! I don't know why I always want to win. I mean in everything from tidily winks to football. LSU played better in the 2nd half and I give them credit. Congrats Tigers! 9-1 isn't so bad. Fran got beat again! I wish Phil would have lost. My son was his game and they are 6-1 and in the playoffs. But I do have good news, I just saved money on my car insurance by switching to Geico!
2 years ago our family went to Orlando to go to Disney and Universal. Thankfully Universal has my favorite place, Starbucks. Cass, Jacob, Hope and I went in and got ourselves some much needed refreshments. Cassandra and I had some coffee drink (I don't remember) and the Jacob and Hope had Milk or OJ. Hope (5 @ the time) wanted the Red Cup. They only bring it out once a year and it means Christmas is coming. I was filming Hope and we asked her what she was drinking and she said, "Starbucks, Christmas Red" with a little lisp.
I went to Starbucks this morning and low and behold it was back, The Red Cup! It is now official, holiday season is here! Enjoy Starbucks, Christmas Red!
I have another confession to make. I used to be a dittohead! There I said it. I am ashamed to admit it but I used to have a Rush is Right bumper sticker on my Izuzu pickup while I was @ Southwestern. Man was I messed up.
I admit I agree with many of Rush Limbaugh's views. I'm glad he is pro-life and lines up with many of the Biblical views of morality. But, maybe I'm becoming a "liberal" because I just can't listen to him anymore. He claims to be the opitomy of morality and virtue. But he cusses all of the time and often has sexual references and stuff. He makes fun of people and turns off liberals. I just can't see Jesus hanging out with Rush. Rush reminds me of the Pharisees. He is always right! But, didn't he get arrested for taking illegal drugs? His arrogance is amazing. I realize he might be talking tongue in cheek but my goodness he is harsh.
I imagine Jesus hanging out with those that Rush criticizes. For that reason, that is who I desire to hang out with. Some would argue that we need Rush, Pat Roberston, Jerry Falwell and others to fight for our rights as conservatives. But, I'm a follower of Christ 1st! I may vote Repubican, but that is only because their moral values line up with mine for the most part. But, now the corruption in the Republican party is rivaling Dems. Before you throw stones at me--I'm not a fan of Alan Combs either.
We can't legislate morality. No politicians or political party is going to save our world. Only the power of Jesus Christ. So you will never see a political sticker on my car. You will never again here me campaign for a politcial candidate. I pray that we have a bunch of Christ followers in politics, but only for the sake of changing those they work with.
Last year I read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and I love the chapter where they set up the confession booth @ Reed College. Their twist was when people came in to confess, Donald and his friends confessed to the non-believers for all of the horrible things done in the name of Christianity.
Well in that light, I want to apologize for some the bonehead things people do in the name of Christianity:
1. I apologize for TBN. That has to be the worst representation of Christianity on the airwaves.
2. I apologize for Paul and Jan Crouch especially, Jan's pink hair.
3. I apologize for cheezy contemporary Christian Music that copies Britney Spears and others.
4. I apologize for Amy Grant and Carmen. (Enough said)
5. I apologize for Binny Hinn and his goofy hair.
6. I apologize for politics and Christianity mixing together.
7. I apologize for Pat Robinson and his stupid remarks about, well everything!
8. I apologize for Jerry Falwell, ditto!
9. I apologize for Christian T-shirts
10. I apologize for fall festivals, read Gary Lamb's blog for this.
11. I apologize for anything that removes Christians from rubbing shoulders with seekers.
12. I apologize every cheezy Christian movie from Tribulation to Left Behind.
13. I apologize for me and my self-righteousness.
I don't even know if Plankeye is still around as a group. I saw them open up for the Newsboys a few years back. I love the name. They got it from Matthew 7:1-5 which talks about judging others. We've got to watch our attitudes. It is easy to judge others so that we look better. You watch a beauty pagent and we nit-pick a beautiful woman. We notice her big thighs or her crooked teeth. Yet we have pot bellies or are going bald. Jimmy Swaggart judged jim bakker when he was having an affair with Jessica Hahn. Then it was discovered that Swaggart himself was buying prostitutes! Unbelievable!
Jesus says in Matthew 7:3, " Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" How often are we guilty of this? It is easy to judge others especially when we want to cover up our own sins! That is what politicians do. You accuse before people have a chance to look at you! We try to measure ourselves with others. The problem is we need to measure ourselves against God. When we do that it is hard to measure up! "In Matthew 7:4 it says, " You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."The way God want us is to be humble before God! The humble will inherit the earth. For us recovering Pharisees this is something to think about.
I know, I know you are thinking its all about the coffee. No, I love Starbucks because of the people I meet. Today was a great example. I did my Bible study and Alan Armstrong from Christ Anglican came in and hung out with me. He is a great guy and introduced me to many Christian leaders in Mobile. Then our cardiologist who goes to Alan's church sat down with us. Then Todd McGee and Dave Chatel from The Grove UMC came by and we had a great time talking. There are also the employees that I have been building relationships with and have shared my testimony with a few. The man I shared with on Monday was there also.
I wish church could be more like my experience @ Starbucks. You come in and feel great about yourself and others. I study the Bible, so I grow in my faith. I have more deep conversations @ Starbucks then I do @ church! Ouch! Why is that? I think it is the atmosphere. It is a place that is built for relationships. The church needs to study places like Starbucks to find out why people love it!
Last week many blogs and news outlets talked about the tragic death of Kyle Lake in Waco, TX.
Here is an excerpt from his final message: (thanks to monday morning insight)
An excerpt from Kyle's last sermon was read at his funeral last week... Kyle spoke:
Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.If you bike, pedal HARD... and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done--a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old's nose, don't be disgusted if the Kleenex didn't catch it all... because soon he'll be wiping his own.
If you've recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you're eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven.
And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift."
Wow! I wonder if somehow he knew? But isn't that the way we should live life? Shouldn't we live like everyday is our last? Shouldn't we as Jason said last week "seize the day?" I love the song by the Kry called "when you die." The fact is none of us know when we are going to die. I have to ask myself am I doing all I can for God. Am I loving my family, my friends and my enemies in the way Jesus would? Am I breathing every breath like it might be my last? Am I hugging my wife and my children like I may never again? Am I sharing my faith with lost people? Am I treating everyone the way Jesus would? Am I enjoying every sip of my Starbucks coffee? Do I enjoy every note of my new David Crowder CD? Do I enjoy every play of the Bama football game or watching Jacob play @ Mims Park? Do I enjoy playing my guitar for the glory of God?
Sometimes it is easy to complain and look at all we don't have. Life is a gift and we must make everyday count. In his book Don't Waste Your Life, John Piper tells a story of how his father, an evangelist led a very old man to Christ. The old man just sat there crying saying I have wasted my life, I've wasted my life. My prayer is that my life will count!
Dan Reiland is a former staff member with John Maxwell's Injoy. He left a great job to become the executive pastor @ Crossroads Church in Lawrenceville, GA. He still writes an article for Injoy called the Pastor's coach. I get it via e-mail and he has great insight. In his most recent artical he say "Beware of Professional Christians." I wrote a post called The Church Police! arghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! about the dangers of Christians that nit-pick churches they don't agree with. Reiland says that his church prays that God won't send Christians to their church. Wow! How can that be! But, I understand why. Most Christians switch churches because they want their "needs" met! Who cares! Christians can get their needs met thru their daily time with God. We should be more interested in reaching our communities for Christ! Now, I think that every church needs to get a healthy dose of believers to join. But, it needs to be those who want to give rather than get! I am conviced of this, if we were busy "being" the church and leading people to Christ, we wouldn't have time to nit-pick. Today I prayed that God would send me a "person of peace" so I could share my faith. I had an opportunity to share with a man at Starbucks. I then talked to 3 other pastors there to also talk with him. We must be more Kingdom minded rather than our own selfish needs! I agree with Dan Reiland, Beware of Professional Christians because they are the ones who have hurt me in the past!
I was teaching from Exodus 4-7 today and noticed how reluctant Moses was to be a leader. He was like your average American child or teen, he argued with God. He had every excuse in the book why he could not be "the one." I can relate so much. I wonder why God wants me to do certain things. They take me out of my comfort zone. They are so not me! But my arguing with God hasn't worked. Just like Moses, God has answers to my objections. Don't you just hate that! I am not a reluctant leader. I've known for sometime that I am a visionary leader. I just thought I would be used in a more cutting edge situation rather than having to work thru tradition. Who am I to argue with God? I guess God wants me to be a change agent. Thanks to my dad, Jason, Rob, Thomas and other wise friends who have helped me wade thru my tough times and given me wisdom. Here I am, send me!
Humor me! The last 3-4 years have been tough for Bama football fans. I grew up in Tuscaloosa and Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and his wife went to our church. When I was growing up if the Tide lost one game it was a "bad" season. Boy how times have changed. Thanks to Phil Fulmer (the anti-christ), the NCAA, Coach Fran (quitter) and Coach Price, Alabama football was at an all time low. We are short on scholarships. We have a team that is young. We have seniors who were abandoned by Coach Fran. Coach Price couldn't keep his pants on and never coached a game at the Capstone. Poor Coach Shula came into a mess. Now after todays game we are 9-0! We may lose the next two games, but if you had told me at the beginning of the season we would go 9-0 and have beaten Tenn and FL I would have taken it. Plus Tenn and Phil Fulmer are having a losing season. What goes around comes around! Coach Fran and Texas A&M stink! You have got to love it. It would be so cool to go undefeated! Even if we get left out of the BCS I will not complain. Shula you are the man!
I have decided that I am mounting a campaign against boycotts! Someone has to do it and I may be in this myself but I am signing my own petition to boycott boycotts! In fact anyone who trys to persuade me to boycott a product, I'm going to boycott the boycott and buy it! Christians boycott Disney, I'm there. We boycott certain stores, they have my business. I'm tired of so called "Christian" leaders telling us who we can vote for and what I can buy! So my movement may be small but, I am boycotting boycotts!
Andy Stanley talked about New, Improved and Improving and Catalyst last month. I'm reading a book by Gene Apple and Alan Nelson called How to Change Your Church Without Killing It that has some interesting insight! Their premise is not New Churches vs. Exisiting Churches it is both! Alan planted a thriving church in AZ and Gene transitioned an exisiting church in Las Vegas into a vibrant one before leaving for Willowcreek. They pointed out something that was very enlightening.
Look at all of these verses: Psalm 98:1, Isaiah 42:9, Isaiah 43:18-19, Isaiah 65:17, Lamentations 3:22-23, Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 18:30-31, Matthew 9:17, Mark 1:27, Hebrews 9:15, John 13:34, Romans 6:4, 1 Corinthians 5:6-7, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:22-24. Notice the use of the word NEW in each verse!
God is a God of change. You don't believe me wake up every morning and a new day looks different than the one before. When we lived in Texas the joke was if you don't like the weather wait an hour it will change. Look at people they are different. They change daily.
New is better! Those that reminisce on the past are missing the boat. We need new churches! But we don't need to destroy old ones. Existing churches must change and become new. Existing churches need to start new churches. New churches can help existing churches become new. We are not in competition with each other. The enemy is satan! Think of how many existing churches have become more relevant because of Willowcreek and Saddleback churches! They did new things 20-25 years ago. Flamingo Road was an exisiting church that decided to change and become new, now they are relevant to their community and have been teaching other churches across the world that they too can change and become new! Any healthy organism grows. Churches need to grow and become new. Technology is changing every day. I bought a new Palm T-5 in August. I was at the Palm store last month and now they have the Palm T/X that has wireless built in and a bigger screen for $50 less than I paid for mine a month before! Life changes! People change! Why don't we in the church change! If Paul said that we are NEW creations then why aren't we changing?
I will continue to push for change. I ask that my friends push me to change. I read, listen to other leaders and study so I can change. Change is for winners! Status quo is for losers!
Most people who know me know that I love sports. I especially love college and pro football. I love pulling for Bama but I also pull for athletes who are followers of Christ. John Schmoltz and Julio Franco of the Braves are both outspoken Christ followers. Shaun Alexander, former Tide running back and now tearing up the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks is an awesome follower of Christ. I was pumped to see the testimony of Albert Pujols he is an awesome Christ follower.
But one mistake can ruin your influence for Christ. A few years ago the Atlanta Falcons were in the Super Bowl. The day before Athletes in Action had a breakfast where they gave out the man of the year award to Eugene Robinson of the Falcons. He was outspoken in his faith. Then that night he was pulled over in Miami for solicitating a prostitute! His testimony was mocked all across the nation but especially in Atlanta. One sports talk show host said he won the Athletes Looking for Action award. How sad! Jeff Gordon was a rising NASCAR star when I saw him give his testimony at a Promise Keepers conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Then a few years later he is caught having sex by his wife with a Playboy Playmate! His testimony is shot! Today I saw that Jim Harbaugh formerly of the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and now head coach of the University of San Diego who has been an outspoken Christian was arrested for a DUI.
If we are going to have an influence on the world for Christ, we have to watch every move we make. We will all make mistakes and sin, but if were are going to be public with our faith, we must realize there is a responsibility that comes with that platform. This is why I am less and less willing to point out Christian celebrities because too often they let us down. I will let people down too! We shouldn't look up to anyone but Jesus.
Greg and I watched Spaceballs for the umpeenth time today. I love the character Lonestar. Well tonight Greg, Angela, Whitney, Neil, JMO, Spots, Emily, and Steven took me out to Longhorn for a great "pastor appreciation" meal. (yes this has been edited, Lonestar is close enough)Thanks to all. It was a great steak. But the fellowship was the best part. All of them work hard in our student ministry and I love them all. I am a blessed man to have all of you in my life!
I love music. It has been a great part of my life. I have played the piano and guitar since I was in Jr. High. I also played the trumpet but when I got to high school the band director made us choose between the band and football. I chose football. (I'm such a jock!) No wonder there was so much animosity between the jocks and the band.
There is something magical about music. It moves you. It brings creativity. I would be lying to say I like all music. I can tollerate classical. I hate rap and country. Boy bands have to go! I am a 80's rocker at heart. But I really like the modern praise and worship music. I think there is something spiritual about music. King Saul needed music to sooth his soul. David played music. He danced for God. (rythemed or interpretive movement for baptists) When I hear certain songs it brings up memories and pictures in my mind. Whenever Cass hears I can only Imagine she cries because it reminders her of her dad's and step-moms funerals last year.
Music in churches causes controversy. That is a shame. We all want what we want! I had a vision for the music I wanted at the Bridge Church we started in Atlanta. It was going to rock! It was going to be just like Northpoint. But the guy I got to do worship didn't do that kind of music. He was a college student at the University of Georgia. Ryan played more contemplative music. It was accustic guitar with a Djembe. It was different then I had dreamed about. But I grew to love it. Some of the people who joined our church decided they didn't like the music. They wanted more hymns in new church!
Contemporary music is hard to pinpoint. What was contemporary 100 years ago is not anymore. Shout to the Lord is considered an oldie! What is in today might be out tomorrow. We church leaders need to be sensitive to this. 20 years from now the music will be much different than now. I may not like it, but if it reaches lost people, I will tollerate it---no I will grow to love it because it connects with people and worships God. John Maxwell attends Northpoint Church in Alpharetta, GA. He doesn't care for the music but he attends because God is moving in that church. He says when he wants his music, he gets in his car and listens to a CD he likes. What a great attitude. I don't but into the type of music we play on Wednesdays. If it connects with the students and praises God then I'm all for it. I just love music!
No, not me but many young pastors and staff are leaving in droves. While I was @ Southwestern they told us that there were over 10,000 Southwestern Graduates living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area that were not serving in vocational ministry. Wow! I thought how sad, how could someone who was called by God leave the ministry? Then our family has experienced some tough times over the last 5 years and I can understand why. I have been tempted myself. My Brother-in-law offered me a job last year that was tempting from a financial standpoint. I would easily be making 6 figures. But my call is real and from God.
In the blog Naked Religion, he wrote Why young Pastors leave the ministry. I can relate to many of these. Sometimes you wonder if it is worth it. I hear junk like was said about me by a deacon last night and I'm tempted to say "adios." (That was for you Storm) But God called me, not bozos who think there is only one way to do ministry or a certain pastor!
I am grateful to all of you who have supported me eventhough I'm different than previous staff members. I am grateful to my friends all over the country who pray for me and give me support. I am grateful for Geoff Moore's song Only a fool, because when I wonder why I'm in this, I listen to that song and it reminds me that I am a fool but that is what Jesus wants!