Directions 11/27/14

Thankful …

 

As we close 40 Days of Community, I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for your response to the Miracle Sunday/Monday challenge.  You gave generously.  You made generous promises to give through the end of the year.  Thank you.

I’m thankful that 106 of you tried a group for the first time.  You took the courageous step of walking into a group and saying, “I’d like to know real community with you.”

I’m thankful for great staff team.  They have all worked very hard during this time when we are without three pastors.  They serve and sacrifice because they believe in what God is doing here at Alice Drive.

I’m thankful for stories of groups serving together, fellowshipping together, and doing life together.  One person expressed it this way, “Someone commented last night that there is a different feel to ADBC. She could not put her finger on it, but I think it is the excitement of being a part of something larger and greater than ourselves.  ADBC is opening doors to the ‘poor in spirit.’ Our family seems less cynical than before.  I truly believe God is with us.”

I’m thankful for a chance to speak to our students for the past five weeks.  The experience has taught me to love and cherish them as they explore meaning and faith in Jesus.

I’m thankful for God’s great grace upon this church.  He has chosen to use us for His purposes.  We’ve been able to come together and see Him do things only He can do.  His hand is guiding us and I am convinced He is preparing us for an amazing next step.

Forty Days of Community is a beginning, not an ending.  This Thanksgiving, remember to give God thanks for all His blessings.  Remember to also give Him thanks for what He is doing with His people called Alice Drive Baptist Church.

Grace

Clay

Tuesday Celebrations 11/25/14

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Big thought from Sunday/Monday: We celebrated all God has done in His church at Alice Drive during 40 Days of Community:

  • With this past Sunday’s offering, we now have over $102,000 from Miracle Sunday/Monday.  Thank you for filling your pledges!
  • 106 people tried groups for the first time; we had 105 new members of groups!
  • Over 3,000 people were here for Fall Festival!
  • Most of all, people learned to love and bless each other – which is exactly what Jesus wants us to do!

May you have a happy, safe, and grateful Thanksgiving!
Smile:

What do you get after eating way too much turkey and dressing? Dessert, of course! (Guava Cobbler if you are from Florida!)

Directions 11/20/14

Directions

 

Heart and Head …

 

This week I had the opportunity hear Ravi Zacharias speak at Wilson Hall.  A brilliant man, he has lectured all over the world in places like Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard, making the logical case for Christian faith.

A young man in the audience asked the question, “How do I know Jesus instead of simply know about him?”  A very profound question, which strikes at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus.  Knowledge about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus.

Dr. Zacharias gave an insightful response, urging the young man to read the scriptures, pray, and read biographies of great followers of Jesus.  Then, almost as an afterthought, he said, “The longest journey for thought is the journey from the head to the heart.”  Profound.

What we think matters.  But until what we think changes our hearts, our thoughts are sterile and lifeless.  Throughout 40 Days of Community we’ve talked about one of Jesus’ most challenging statements: “By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:35).”  People will know we are followers of Jesus not by how we worship, or by our theology, but by our love for one another.

Hanging on the wall in my office is quote from an old country preacher, Sam Durrance.  Sam was distant relative and close neighbor to my family.  He did not speak at Oxford, Cambridge, or Harvard, but in places like Popash, Ft. Green, and Mt. Pisgah.

Before my cousin Tiny went off to study for the ministry, Sam pulled him aside and told him, “Keep the Lord in your heart, and not in your head, and you will do alright.  Now if you don’t, you’d be better off if someone knocked you in the head and threw you under a bunch of palmettos, because you won’t be no good to no body.”  That’s the quote that hangs on my wall.

Sam’s home spun wisdom and Dr. Zacharias words of counsel are really the same.  Funny how a scholar and a country preacher can find the same truth.  What you think is important. Having a relationship with Jesus that changes how you live – that’s eternal.

Grace

Clay

Tuesday Celebrations 11/18/14

Tuesday Celebrations

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!  Stay warm today!

Big thought from Sunday/Monday:  God invites you to participate in miracles; are you surrendered and ready to do what He asks?

This Sunday/Monday is a time of celebration.  We will share the Lord’s Supper, we will celebrate all God has done during 40 Days of Community and we will announce the giving totals from Miracle Sunday/Monday.  Look forward to celebrating with you!

Smile:

A lady was looking for a turkey but couldn’t find one big enough. She asked the stock boy “Do these turkeys get any bigger?” The stock boy replied “No they’re dead.”

Directions 11/13/14

Directions

 

Miracle Sunday/Monday …

 

Two years ago we started talking about needed updates to our building and technology to help us reach as many as possible for Jesus.  These were the projects we wanted to accomplish:

  1. Update our sound and video production to begin putting our services on the web and to start a live stream.
  2. To paint and replace flooring throughout the building.
  3. To replace the chairs in the worship center.

Throughout this project we’ve been clear we are not doing this for us.  The goal is not to have a nicer facility for ourselves.  The goal is keep this building, this tool, up to date so we will continue to help as many as possible take their next step toward Jesus.

Our church decided to make this journey in steps.  We’ve accomplished the first phase; the new technology has been purchased, installed, and is being used.

Our next step will be to purchase new chairs, replace the flooring in the lobby and the worship center, and paint these areas.  We currently have $138,000 on hand.  We need an additional $70,000.  This will give us the amount we need to refurbish our lobby and Worship Center.

The remainder of the building will be renovated through Ministry Budget funds.

We want to do this project in 2015 so we can be ready to reach out to our community in 2016, when we will celebrate our 60th anniversary as a church family.  If we get our building ready in 2015, we’ll be ready for the blessings I believe God has waiting for us.

Miracles happened when God’s people come together and believe in God’s promises more than they believe in their fears.  I want us to see such a miracle.

This Sunday/Monday, let’s make a miracle together.  Let’s each bring an offering over and above our regular offering so we can be part of the miracle God wants to us to do.

Some of you struggle financially.  You can still be part of this miracle.  Let God lead you to the amount you need to give.  Some of you have been very blessed financially.   What gift can you bring that will help a miracle happen?

What is required great faith to ask God what would please him, and what your part of the miracle will be.

Looking forward to a miracle,

Clay

Tuesday Celebrations 11-11-14

Tuesday Celebrations

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!  Let’s salute all our veterans for their service to our country!

Thanks to Jock for doing a great job Sunday and Monday.  You and I have been gifted to serve – don’t make it harder than it needs to be!

This Sunday/Monday is Miracle Sunday/Monday – November 16/17.  We are asking, challenging, and praying for people to bring two offerings.  One – your regular offering.  Second, an offering for As Many As Possible.  Our goal is to have a one day offering of $70,000 so we can purchase new chairs and paint and re-carpet the worship center and the lobby.  You will have a chance both to give and share a pledge of giving for the next 7 weeks toward this goal.  We can do this if we all do our part.  Let’s be the miracle God wants us to be.

Check out this great resource for men on Right Now Media:

https://rightnow.org/Media/Series/2329

In Honor of Our Veterans:

Remember, it was the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It was the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It was the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to fair trial.

It was the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the veteran who salutes the flag, who served under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag who allows the protester to burn the flag.

All gave some – some gave all.

Directions 11-6-14

Letter to a Veteran

 

Dear Veteran,

Anticipating Veteran’s Day, I want to say thank you.  I am one of the citizens you served.  I never entered the military because God had another plan for my life.  Instead, I have paid my taxes to support you, I have visited you in Veteran’s Hospitals, and I have been your pastor.

I realize upon entering the military you understood your life would not be your own.  You were trained to receive orders and execute them.  You were always answering to a higher authority, even entering battles without knowing “why.”  Thank you entering the battle.

Some of you did not serve on the front line, but you served the front line.  Living in this city, one thing I have learned is that many hands thrust the point of the spear forward.  Someone has to drive the truck, order the ammo, cook the food, and tell the plane they are cleared to land.  Thank you for doing what needs to be done.

I think about my Dad, a veteran of World War II.  Most of his time in the service was spent training other pilots.  In the late stages of the war, he was assigned a crew.  They flew their B-17 Flying Fortress to Europe just as the war ended.  He had no stories of dropping bombs or narrow escapes through the Nazi flak.  But he was still a hero.  He did what needed to be done, which is exactly what heroes do.  Thank you, veteran, for doing what needs to be done.

Some of you have nightmares and depression.  PTSD is not something you just “snap out of.”  For all the times your countrymen have not understood, I am sorry.  I know you have made snap decisions the best you could, you’ve seen people die, and the scenes of carnage do not go away.  True combat is not clean and concise like a movie.  My prayer is that you will find a deeper peace, a release, and forgiveness.  Thank you for enduring the struggle.

I thank you for all you do, but most of all, I thank you for your example.  You show me how to follow my Lord.

He gives me orders:  love your enemies.  I want to question “why,” but you have taught me that I need to trust His higher authority. You taught me to enter the battle.

My Lord gives me assignments that may not be glamorous.  For every talented singer in the choir, there has to be someone in the nursery taking care of crying babies.  You remind me there are no small responsibilities in God’s kingdom.  You taught me to do what needs to be done.

Even your troubles remind me that my calling can be messy.  I haven’t seen bodies blown apart, but I have seen lives come apart, despite my best efforts.  Sometimes you want good for people they don’t want for themselves.  It gets to you.  I have to remember to find the same peace I pray for you. You taught me to endure the struggle for the sake of the mission.

So thank you, veterans for serving our country, for serving me.  But thank you even more for painting a picture of what it really means for me to follow Jesus.

With gratitude and grace,

Clay

 

Tuesday Celebrations 11-4-14

Tuesday Celebrations

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Great Days Sunday and Monday:  Total of 1530 on campus!.  Plus we had the largest one day offering ever for our Ministry Fund – $65,276!  Thanks be to God!

Big thought from Sunday/Monday:  In God’s courtroom, the judge’s seat doesn’t belong to me.

For all of you who got a copy of Pipes, let me know what you think!  Our remaining copies will go on sale in the Homepoint Center this weekend.

What a great time we had at Fall Festival.  Best estimate of crowd – 3,000 to 4,000.

Miracle Sunday/Monday is coming – November 16/17.

Check out this great resource for teaching your kids about faith on Right Now Media:

https://rightnow.org/Media/Series/2280

Smile:

Bubba and Johnny Ray, two good ole boys from North Carolina, were sitting’ on the front porch drinking beer when a large truck hauling rolls and rolls of sod went by. “I’m gonna do that when I win the lottery,” said Bubba. “Do what?” asked Johnny Ray. “Send my grass out to be mowed,” answered Bubba.

Directions 10/30/14

Who Are You?

 

I’ve heard of a lot of discussion about the different personalities I’ve talked about the last two Sundays/Mondays.  If you missed the messages, here is a brief recap of different kinds of people we meet in relationships:

Mr. Competitive: He always has to win.  If he doesn’t, he withdraws, gets grumpy and silent.  He never asks a question but instead defends his opinions – which he thinks are better than anyone else’s.  It’s hard to be in a relationship with him because he has to always be on top.

Ms. Self-Righteous: She loves to look down at people.  Cloaking her true thoughts in the guise of spiritual language and prayer requests, she truly believes she has a “special relationship” with God that you don’t have.  It’s hard to be in a relationship with her because she looks down on you – and is secret hoping something bad will happen to you.

 

Mr. Duty:  He relates not because he wants to, but because he has to.  As a result, he is always on the verge of misery.  When he enters the room and takes his seat, he does so with a sigh, because it is such a burden to relate to you and to the group.  It’s hard to have a relationship with him because he is keeping score – if you cross him, he will remember it, and he will get even.

Ms. Nice:  She is the outgoing one who welcomes everyone, organizes the group gatherings, and does her best to be kind to everyone.  Whenever the discussion gets too heated, she will change the subject.  It’s hard to have a relationship with her because she is never real – she will never let you know the real pain in her life.  It’s hard to be close to plastic.

Ms. Needy:  Her life is constant chaos; everything seems to happen to her.  She always has a prayer request and her Facebook page is filled with one crisis after another.  She doesn’t care if something is right or wrong, she will do it if it makes her life easier – like slap her kids if they misbehave in a store.  It’s hard to have a relationship with her because the chaos forms a barrier between you and her.

Mr. Clueless:  For starters, he is clueless about relationships.  He thinks people like him when they really don’t.  Every conversation, every story has to be about him.  He thinks the rules apply to others, not him.  He’s special and demands special treatment.  It’s hard to have a relationship with him because his conceit crowds everyone else out.

Maybe you see yourself in one of these categories (unless you are Mr. Clueless).  Maybe you see yourself in all of the categories, depending on what situation you are in.  Let me tell you who you can be in relationships.

Jesus:  The whole point of following Jesus is to be like him.  Jesus was centered on His Father.  He based his relationships not on what he wanted, but on what the Father wanted.  Because he had that external reference point, he didn’t have to win; he didn’t engage in spiritual superiority games; he didn’t do things because he had to; he wasn’t fake; he wasn’t needy; and he was the most self-aware person who ever lived.

My challenge, and yours if you are a Jesus follower, is to be Jesus in every relationship.  That means being centered on him, thinking about him, and learning from him.

Maybe the most important thing is not who you are in relationships, but who Jesus can make you to be.

Clay

 

Tuesday Celebrations 10/28/14

Tuesday Celebrations

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

So far during 40 Days of Community, 126 people have tried a new group!  Thanks be to God!

Big thought from Sunday/Monday:  Be Jesus in every relationship.

My new book, Pipes, will be given away  on Nov. 2 and 3 to each family in attendance.  It is about how to let the power of God flow through you!

Hope to see you at Fall Festival, Friday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8.

Miracle Sunday/Monday is coming – November 16/17.

Smile:

  • The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut, and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately.
  • She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce.
  • The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.
  • The patient lives at home with his mother, father, and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week.
  • She is numb from her toes down.
  • The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as stockbroker instead.
  • When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.
  • On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.
  • Patient was released to outpatient department without dressing.
  • The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
  • Discharge status: Alive but without permission.
  • The patient will need disposition, and therefore we will get Dr. Blank to dispose of him.
  • Healthy-appearing, decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.
  • The patient expired on the floor uneventfully.
  • Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.
  • Patient was becoming more demented with urinary frequency.
  • The patient’s past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.
  • She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.
  • Patient has chest pains if she lies on her left side for over a year.
  • He had a left-toe amputation one month ago. He also had a left-knee amputation last year.
  • By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling much better.
  • The patient is a 79-year-old widow who no longer lives with her husband.
  • The patient refused an autopsy.
  • Many years ago the patient had frostbite of the right shoe.
  • The patient left the hospital feeling much better except for her original complaints.