Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Morning Thoughts

I love Saturday mornings. Typically, I wake up with Riley because we have been snuggling on Friday nights for a long time. He’s a good snuggle buddy but, like his older brothers, he’s almost at the age where snuggling with Daddy isn’t such fun. For now, though, I’m enjoying every moment.

Then we have breakfast. Sometimes, it’s pancakes (World Famous Pancakes) or cinnamon rolls or muffins. Today, it’s chocolate chip muffins and a cup of coffee. This is one of the few times we all have breakfast together.

But then my Saturdays usually take a turn toward the office. Today is no different. A couple of hours at home then the rest of the day at the office. This week, my Saturday is not a day off because of a three day seminar in Nashville. Most weeks, I just lollygag. So I need a plan to get everything done by Thursday afternoon so I can enjoy some time alone and with the family on Friday and Saturday. I’ll work on that, but for now, I’m enjoying my coffee and family.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I’ve gotten behind on my seminar assignments…again. I had a good plan six weeks ago but deadlines are here and I’m still reading and writing. I gathered all the books and even began reading, but one thing after another came up and I pushed aside the assignments. Most of the distractions were important things but not all of them needed my immediate attention. Then there were the “time gremlins” that stole my time but gave nothing in return.

When I worked in JC Penney during my college days, we had customers who shopped but never purchased anything. We called them “TWs” because they were time wasters. With a sales goal looming over your heard each week, you didn’t want to get stuck with at TW! But I let TWs have my time with these assignments and now I’m scrambling to get them completed.

Christians have been given an assignment from the Lord – the Great Commission. If we want to complete the assignment we must get on and stay on task. There will be many TWs and time gremlins along the way. Distractions await at every turn. Those serious about the task will focus on their responsibilities and draw strength from the Spirit; they will rely upon the Lord for direction and motivation.

The unique thing about this assignment is the due date: we continue working on it until we die or until Jesus returns. At first glance, that seems like an easy obligation; but when you realize that you don’t know when that due date will arrive, you should feel a sense of urgency to get busy. I want to become more and more like Christ so I can be more and more effective carrying out my task.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In Defense of the Association, State Convention, and SBC

I am in favor of a Great Commission Resurgence. I would have voted to assemble the Task Force if I had been able to attend the SBC annual meeting in Louisville in June. I am committed to praying for the Task Force daily. I believe the local church should hold all agencies, institutions, etc., accountable to be good stewards of the resources we send them.

This is the purpose of a Great Commission Resurgence and I hope the Task Force will stay on task. Getting side-tracked by a personal agenda would be easy and tempting; but the churches of the SBC do not want representatives of a handful of megachurches to restructure the denomination to suit them.

Now, let me defend the existence and work of the Pulaski Baptist Association, Arkansas Baptist State Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention from the perspective of a small church pastor who desires to see his community and world impacted by the church he leads.

Pulaski Baptist Association, under the leadership of Danny Johnson, is a group of churches working together in places like Little Rock, New York, Mexico, St. Louis, and New Orleans. Using a modest budget, the association staff does some preliminary groundwork and planning that helps churches like mine get plugged into ministry. Our church sends 3% of our undesignated receipts to PBA – that’s not much money. In return, we get the planning mentioned above plus the availability of vans to use on our trips. That saves us the expense of owning and operating a van ourselves. We have an older van but it is not road worthy for a long trip. PBA also gives pastors opportunities for fellowship where we encourage each other and have lots of fun. We need that. Ministers receive support for further education. Danny takes groups of pastors and leaders to convention meetings and mission vision trips. Even if our church is not able to go on a trip, we participate through our contributions. We are impacting lives through PBA.

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention receives 10% of our undesignated funds. This funds missions and ministry around the state. Their staff helps us with education, training, and planning. Bob Fielding and Robby Tingle have helped us with logistics of planning an international missions trip. The Arkansas Baptist Builders coordinated work in New Orleans so our teams could spend the week helping remodel houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina. ABSC sends about 42% of our contribution to the Southern Baptist Convention where additional ministry and mission work is carried out.

The biggest advantage of being part of the SBC for our church in recent years has been our partnership with SBC missionaries in Russia. We are able to work directly with TeamSOAR, led by Rusty and Lori Hart in Ekaterinburg. I have made two trips since coming to CRBC and plan to take one trip each year and lead many in our church to also go. While in Russia, we are able to plug into the work already ongoing and we also can help establish new work in the region. Our impact in that part of the world is greater because of the SBC.

A proposal by the Great Commission Task Force that hinders these relationships in any way will face opposition by small churches like ours. Big churches have pulled support away from local associations and state conventions in recent years. Many have reduced Cooperative Program contributions, too. The truth is, they don’t need associations, state conventions, and the SBC; and small church can’t make it without this cooperation.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Last Days

For those of you familiar with my preaching/teaching, you are probably surprised by the title of this blog post. Let me clarify what I am talking about: summer vacation is almost over and school starts next week!

Riley and I have been watching “Phineas and Ferb” all summer and we love the theme song. It starts like this: “A hundred and four days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it.” That’s what’s happening. Except I’m not sure how you get 104 days of it, though! I’m counting about 75 or so.

Anyway, as the summer break comes to a close, Riley and I get to spend the days together because his normal childcare is taking the rest of the summer off. What can we do? More “Phineas and Ferb” for one thing! Riley is also going with me as I make home visits and associational meetings. He’s a trooper. All he needs is him MP3 player and his Nintendo DS and he’s good to go.

I wish everyone was so agreeable. If Christians were “good to go” we might see more ministry, more missions, more evangelism…

We are, after all, living in the Last Days. One day Jesus will return to gather all the believers and establish his millennial reign on earth. Just like Riley and I are making the most of the last days before school starts, don’t you want to make the most of the last days before Jesus returns?

So get involved in the ministry and missions your local church is doing. Share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone today. Be found faithful by impacting eternity now.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Bruce Chesser

I consider Bruce a friend although we never hung out together or shared personal concerns. We don’t know much about each other personally. We came to Little Rock at about the same time. He came to pastor one of the largest Baptist churches; I came to pastor one of the smallest. But over the years I found Bruce to be a friend.


The main reason for this is that he took the time to have breakfast with guys like me and to know our names. And he seemed to like the time we all spent together. I did. I had a job in another town, spent all my time at the church, had almost zero interaction with folks outside those two circles and family, but could sit in a fellowship hall or IHOP and feel like I belonged.


So, thanks, Bruce. And the best of the Lord’s blessings for you and your family as you head to Hendersonville.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

God Still Moves

I’m not sure I can adequately express what I’m thinking but I have to try. When I say that God still moves it’s not like I thought he had stopped; this is more an affirmation than a revelation. A southern gospel song has the words “it’s good to know how it feels.” I believe God’s presence is more than a feeling and that he is with me even if I don’t feel it, but it IS good to know how it feels!


Worship tonight was as good as I’ve experienced in quite a while. The songs were spot on. The prayer time was phenomenal. The Word was so relevant. I hope I’m not the only one who realized it! If you were there, didn’t you sense it, too? God was moving among us, stirring us and drawing us nearer to him.


Personal decisions I’ve made recently coupled with some specific needs within our church and an awareness of our responsibility to the Gospel seemed to create the perfect storm, if you will. I’m convinced that God wants to move like this all the time but I know that we have to be ready and open to receive it. So God moved.


Maybe some were just spectators and didn’t get it. Maybe some were bored or turned off. Maybe some were drawn closer to God. Maybe some, like me, know that revival is coming. Would you like to know the key to revival?










“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV










God still moves!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Staying Caught Up

That was a fast week. I really need to relax more. The problem is that I’m lazy and don’t stay on top of my work; so I’m always busy. Does that make sense – lazy but always busy? I don’t like being called lazy, even if I’m the one calling me names!

So today is a new day, a fresh start for me. I’m reading and writing in preparation for a leadership seminar I’m taking later this month. Something I read this week got my attention. Spiritual Leadership by Blackaby and Blackaby says that leaders must maintain a routine. We often think of routine as boring, monotonous, or mundane; however, the discipline of routine keeps leaders focused on what really matters. I’m easily distracted; therefore, I need routine. I need a schedule. This is not to say that I won’t or can’t allow important things to interrupt my schedule, but it is to say that by scheduling the important things I know I’ll get them done.

I’m using Outlook and my Blackjack II for organization and reminders. I’m hoping to get an iPhone in September, but I digress! The most important element of motivation and organization is prayer. Through prayer I will draw nearer to God and understand what he wants me to do and how he will help me do it. Through prayer I will stay focused on the important people and tasks in my life. Through prayer I will become more like Jesus Christ, the ultimate “on-task” leader.

Every priority in my life has suffered because of my lack of organization, my procrastination, and my laziness. Enough of that! Today is a new day.