9/10/07 Sunday Night Download
Cool things from Sunday:
- At 11 we had a young lady make her profession of faith! Yeah!
- Thanks to all who parking in the back!
- Several folks told me the message was just for them. It never fails to amaze me how God takes His word and molds it to right shape to fit the needs of our hearts. Keep praying for families – there is a lot of pain out there.
- Eddie Hobbs did a great job role playing Hosea. He will be intro-ing the sermons all through this series.
- First Sunday touched my heart. I know there is no way you can understand the meaning behind the staff signing the values, but it is a really significant step. It says our ministers will be accountable to live by Godly values. Hold us to it.
I meant what I said at the end of First Sunday: I believe God wants to change part of the world through ADBC. Our Vision needs to get a lot bigger. I believe over the next five years, we need to think in terms of hundreds, not dozens, going to Africa. I believe there is a corner of Africa that God wants us to invest in and help transform while we ourselves are transformed. And I believe God will call some of our students to give their lives to Africa. I don’t know how we will do all this – But with God’s help – everything is possible!
9/9/07 A Fine Man
Today I had the honor of officiating at Ed Lewis’ funeral. Ed was a fine man, a true Christian gentleman.
I shared this story at his funeral – ten years ago, when we were in the old church building on Miller Road, Ed passed out during my sermon. This was the first time this had ever happened to me – but I stopped the sermon, asked people to pray for Ed, and then waited with him as the ambulance was called. When they loaded Ed on the gurney, I leaned down to tell him that I would be praying for him. He told me couldn’t leave yet. I was puzzled and asked why. Then he told me that he couldn’t leave until he gave his offering. I told him I would put it in the offering plate for him.
What an incredible life legacy! When most of us would have worried about ourselves, Ed was still focused on giving.
9/6/07 God, My Family is Falling Apart
Just finished the first draft of this message for Sunday and my own soul is moved. I think there are many hurting people who need this message. SO –
Invite some people you know to ADBC Sunday, ask them to stay for your Bible Community group and lunch Sunday. And remember, please park in the back!
I am praying – really – for God to speak to hurting hearts this Sunday like never before. Pray for me to be clear.
9/5/07 What the Ministers Value
In my office there is a rock. It contains no precious metal. It is only worth something to me, because a friend took from Petra, Jordan, and gave it me. Whenever I see that rock, I think of my friend, and I think about the journey that rock has made halfway around the world. That rock is valuable to me.
The pastors of this church have worked hard to think about and clarify what we value. These spiritual values guide what we do and how we do it. We are not perfect but we are guided. On Sunday night, September 9, we are going to sign a document that demonstrates to you our commitment. It is our hope that every future member of the ministerial staff team will also sign these values as a way of declaring what is important to the pastors of the ADBC.
The pastors of ADBC value:
Biblical Conformity. We value conforming, living and ministering with Biblical Integrity. The teaching of the Bible will guide our personal and ministerial conduct.
Growth. We value growth as disciples, persons, and professionals. We believe embracing a continuous, intentional learning process leads to positive change in our lives and in the lives of those we lead and serve.
Empathy. We value caring for the people we lead. We will seek to understand, guide, encourage, and love people as they take their next step.
Trust. We value trust among the ministerial team. We seek to unite behind and be committed to a common vision. We seek to encourage one another within weakness and we hold each other accountable to do our personal best.
Cultural Relevance. We value cultural relevance in what we do so that the timeless gospel of Christ can be present in a creative way that the Sumter community will understand. We will continually seek to understand our specific culture, be involved in it, with the goal of transforming it.
Performance. We value performing at our highest level, believing this is God’s expectation. We believe giving our best strength, thinking, awareness, and maturity into our gifts and competency will produce God pleasing results.
Focus on the Unconnected. We value connecting to the community to connect to the unconnected. We desire to spread the message of grace to people far away from God and to seek tangible, practical ways to demonstrate God’s love in action.
Service. We value a servant’s heart. Our firs goal is not to build our own ego, but it is to meet the needs of others. By serving ADBC in a mature manner, we embrace its vision, its mission, and its values.
This is who we are striving to be. Hold us accountable for what we say we value.
9/5/07 First Sunday on the Second Sunday
This Sunday we will have First Sunday, a service we do once a month on the first Sunday night – except, of course, for this month, when we do it on the second Sunday because of Labor Day. Confused?
To cut to the chase – make time this Sunday at 6 pm to come to First Sunday. Two important things: The ministers will be signing a statement of staff values (see blog entry). We are publicly committing ourselves to a set a values that will guide our conduct as ministers.
Second, the South Africa mission team will be sharing their story. I’ve really been challenged by what they’ve experience. God has given me two convictions: ADBC needs to push our thinking beyond Sumter; and I need to take prayer more seriously. Since hearing their stories about how the African church prays, my heart has been challenged to pray more intensely.
So – don’t miss this!
9/4/07 Who Got Zapped?
My son was invited to go hog hunting during our recent trip to Florida. Hog hunting in Florida is best done at night and usually the hog is not shot, but captured, so he or she can be fed a little corn before he or she becomes bacon.
But technology has now reached into the backwaters of Florida and my cousins, who took my son, have upgraded their tools. There are still tracking dogs and catch dogs, but now they have added a taser. The taser is used to stun the hog with high voltage electricity, thereby temporarily immobilizing him. The hog is then tied (hence, hog tied), and carried to the truck, where he or she is placed in a cage.
I was not there for this night of hog hunting, have now grown old, but my son reported to me that a hog was indeed located by the tracking hounds and the catch dog was let loose. The four boys followed with flashlights and spotlights, and came upon a small hog surrounded by three dogs, snarling and snapping.
My young cousin Syd, was holding the taser and decided this would be the moment to taser the hog. Unfortunately, Syd does not have the best aim. He plunged the taser toward the hog at the very moment a dog moved in front of him. In Syd’s excitement, he mashed the button anyway, and the poor hound received a dose of voltage, paralyzing him temporarily. Syd then located the correct hide and administered the electric charge to the hog, who also then fell paralyzed.
It sounds like a bad Hemingway rip off, doesn’t it? The Hog. The Dog. Paralyzed against the dark. Enemies no more. Victims together.
The hog was loaded into the cage and the dog recovered – but I can’t help but wonder what the dog thought. According to eyewitnesses, the dog shook it off, but didn’t bark as much the rest of the night.
Life will zap you. The phone rings, a note is left, an email is discovered, and you feel the charge of emotion run through you. The issue is: Will the zap capture you or will you shake it off, be a little subdued, and move on.
This Sunday, I begin a series called Family, Imperfect. We all receive jolts in our families – Does God have a way to help us move on? I believe He does. Want to hear about God’s way? Come Sunday.
9/2/07 Sunday at Buckhorn Ranch
Normally at this time on Sunday I would be frantically writing my notes before first Sunday. Instead, I am praying for Clay (the other one, the one with hair) to do well and boldly proclaim God’s word.
I am at my parents in Florida, sitting in the small office. These trips now are bittersweet. My mother has Alzheimer’s disease. Loving her means talking and singing and holding her hand. My step-father is bouncing back from cancer, but he is still weak.
But this is the place of my roots and there will be a time today to see my brother and sisters and to eat my sisters fried cornbread (like Mamma used to make), and talk a little family business. Best of all, I will take time to ride out over the ranch, see the cows and the grass and refresh that space in my soul that is still a cowboy.
Sometimes being faithful to God means stepping away from my responsibilities to remember I am son, a brother, a cowboy.