Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More than an academic exercise, it was a Divine encounter:

I apologize, I didn't bring my camera. Some other folk took pictures. If they send me one, I'll post it.
Kathy and I were privileged to attend the Senior Recital of Parker Jones and Nathan Brown. These guys are graduating from Liberty University's Worship Leader program in just a few weeks.
Parker grew up in Covington Bible Church. His folks are much loved colleagues of mine in the ministry here. He did a great job last night.
I may miss someone here, but it was also great to see some other friends at the recital. In addition to Parker's family there were, Donna Bragg, Jeana Lee, and Nathan and Kristan Brown. Afterwards we saw Bill Morse, who joined us for a late supper/snack.
I guess what impressed me most was that through part of the program these guys were not merely performing the songs they had worked hard to learn, they were leading me in worship. I'll not get too deep here, but my soul has been rubbed kind of raw lately, and I crave something from God--time in the awareness that I am in His presence, and assurance of His love, mercy, and steadfastness. I was nourished by the guys' ministry. I hope God was pleased with my worship as they led me before Him.
Thanks guys.

Be watching. If we can match up a date, we'll have Parker here to lead us in a service of praise to our Great God.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Story at the end of 4/19's message:

Several folk commented on the story about the old deacon and the Hippie with which I ended the message, Sunday.
Seldom does something we read or hear become a permanent part of our thinking. Decades ago I read that little story. It has stayed with me since. I think it was in the old Moody Monthly Magazine. I'm fairly sure that Walter Wangerin, a pastor and talented author, wrote it. As far as I know it is a fictional story, but relates a very real truth.
If anyone can help me find the original, I'd love to know where to lay hands on it.

Easter Sunday at CBC:

You can get a glimpse of my remodeled study in the some of the pictures. Though I enjoy my study very much, that isn't why I put the pictures in.

On Easter Sunday morning, Ed Poage, Lori and Jim Taylor, and the CBC Junior High Sunday School Class filled helium balloons and tied strings and little tags on them. It had been a while since we did this. A decade or more ago I read about a church that made a great celebration out of their Easter Service, culminating it with the release of balloons. It sounded like fun, so we did it. Did it a couple of times, but then figured out that it is also a lot of trouble, so we hadn't done it for a while.

A couple of the folk on our music committee remembered the little exercise, and thought it would be nice this year. Easter was late. It showed promise of being a lovely day--it was, and . . .

I don't make any big spiritual claims for the event. Mostly it is just fun for kids--little ones, and big ones like me. There is some symbolism one can attach to the balloons floating up--though some of that was ruined by the large number that caught in a nearby tree. (Looked like a giant "Easter-egg tree.)--but I don't try to make too much of the symbolism.
Anyhow, balloons or no balloons, Easter was a great day at CBC. One of the joys for me was hearing Debbie Alt Harvey sing.

Debbie was one of my wife's students, longer ago than either of them would want me to mention. Debbie has used here musical ability over the years in service to the Lord.

Her music combined with that of Kelley Calhoun and our our congregation, led by Daryl Shreeve and Stephanie Hinkle, was just great. It may be better in heaven, but not much.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thanks to a friend of mine for sharing the following post about people coming to the Lord in some remarkable places.
Read it and rejoice!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A wasted life:

As you could probably tell from my lack of any posts on the matter, I'm behind, way behind on my Bible reading project. I haven't abandoned my goal of reading through the Bible 2x this year, but the commitment is in jeopardy.
It is not that I have not been having a good time with the Lord in His word. I have. For instance in the couple of weeks before Easter, both in my study for my Easter message and in my Quiet Time, I walked with the Lord during the weekend of His crucifixion. The harmony I used can still be found at Click on devotional aids. I needed that.
It is just that this has been outside of my plan--which I know is OK.
Yesterday, we were visiting with family. For me, most of the day was laid back--take a nap if you want to--which I did in the afternoon--but in the morning I read most of the life of King David.
I began in the later chapters of 1 Samuel, followed him to Philistia, ached with him when Ziklag burned, and then saw him ascend to the throne and deal with all competitors.
In the middle of 2 Samuel, though, there is the little matter of Bathsheba.
The book is divided--David's successes, David's failures. The line of demarcation is a woman who was taking a bath, and a man who didn't take a cold shower.
Tragic, instructive, but tragic.

I'm working on this weeks message from the second half of Eph. 2. I'm thinking about purposely--I'll be up front about it--going with a secondary point. If Jews and Gentiles are brought together in Christ, then why are we two millennia later dividing over skin-color, and musical tastes, or whether we wear ties or not on Sunday morning?
If you would like to weigh in with 2 cents--or even a nickle--I'd be glad to listen.

Easter at our church was great. Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Some thoughts early in "Holy Week"

I just read the Newsweek cover story,
"The End of Christian America
The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become"
And Al Mohler's comments,

Dr. Mohler's comments are particularly germane because he figures prominently in the article itself. If you read it you'll understand what I mean.

I have neither the time nor the interest to dissect, analyze, and perhaps refute the Newsweek article. I would say that in many ways I think it is true. Our recent election, and our culture's flow away from the kind of ethical/moral standards taught in the Bible do clearly show a declining influence of Christianity in our culture--particularly in the USA.

As I read Meacham's article I was struck with the fact that there is much about Christianity that he doesn't get. I can't really blame him. Meacham states, "Evangelical Christians have long believed that the United States should be a nation whose political life is based upon and governed by their interpretation of biblical and theological principles." I fear that too many of us Bible believing Christians have given those around us this idea that the article articulates--that Biblical Christianity is primarily a political force. (It is clear in the article that this is not the exclusive view that Meacham sees.) The root of the name "Evangelical" is not political. The word refers to the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In the words of the old gospel song it is time that God's people were reminded that, "This world is not my home. I'm just a passin' through . . ."

Anyhow, both articles are worth the time it takes to read them.

Not unrelated:
  • I just had a conversation yesterday with a marvelously articulate 9 year old who wants t be baptized to declare her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No sign of the end of Christianity in her life.
  • I have an ongoing communication with a young man who though raised in the church spent much of his energy as a teen and an adult avoiding Christianity's implications on his life. Our chief topic of conversation recently has been studying the Bible. A few minutes ago, at his request, I sent him some information on some serious, grown-up Bible-study tools. Christianity is not losing its influence on this young man's life, or his family.

I have been encouraging you to walk with the Lord through the last events of His earthly life on this week before Easter. (if you go to and click on devotional aids and then click Easter Reading, you'll find what I'm talking about.) As Kathy and I read the first part of the compilation last night, I was struck with how much the Apostles didn't get it. Here they were squabbling over first place, and in pride resisting taking the role of servant, when our Lord took the towel and washed their feet.

The way of the cross has never been a way to political power in this world. It is the way of the cross.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Basic, Wonderful, Profound Story

Over the past few days I have been working on a project in preparation for Easter. I have found it profoundly moving.
Using the copy of Robertson's Harmony of the Gospels, that is part of my Bible Study Program, I put together an account of Jesus's words and activities from Thursday night before His crucifixion until Sunday night, when he met with the Apostles. Where there were parallel accounts of the same scenes, I chose one--usually the fuller one. I had originally intended to use the New Living Translation, because it is so conversational, but copyright restrictions prevented me from doing that, so to conform I used a number of translations so that I would stay within the limits.
I posted my work on the CBC website, You can find it on the bulletin page or under Devotional Aids. Whether you use my compilation or another I hope you will join me in walking with, and listening to the Lord through this most important weekend in history.

You are welcome to leave your comment.