Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lame Duck Session of Congress

Let's see...

Tax reductions are extended for all income brackets. That's a good thing because it allows Americans to keep their money. The government is not efficient nor equipped to do much of what they try to do. Let the government field a military and other entities to protect the public. Let the government maintain national infrastructure. Let the people and free markets take care of everything else. In order to do that the people must keep more of their money rather than send it to the government. Now the government must reduce spending. A balanced budget must accompany lower taxes.

The DREAM Act is dead. This was viewed as an attempt at amnesty for many illegals. We need to protect our borders. We need to deport illegals. We will be better off by spending our money to achieve these goals rather than spending to educate and medicate them.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been repealed. In the early years in the Clinton Administration, the president and Congress struck a deal on gays in the military. Up until that time, gays were not allowed to serve. The compromise, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" allowed gays to serve as long as nobody knew they were gay. The military could not ask. The gays just had to keep it a secret from their commanding officers. What happened in Congress then was the first step toward what happened today.

Conservative Christians could look at this week as a "Win" because we got two out of three. But the biggest concern for us should have been the advancing of the homosexual agenda - and we lost on that one. I'm not diminishing the importance of smaller government (we haven't won anything on this yet) and lower taxes. People should take control of their own lives rather than allowing someone else to give you everything.

That opinion does not fly in the face of grace. Grace is where God gives us something we could in know possible way gain for ourselves. Welfare, entitlements, or handouts give people a reason to not work and get things for themselves. That's not the case 100% of the time so we'll always need some form of welfare, but it's gotten out of hand in the US. Take responsibility, people, and stop taking the handouts!

There is also a conservative Christian perspective on immigration. The US must be careful how it lets people in. And the laws governing this must be followed. Is that unbiblical? I don't think so. God is very careful about who is considered part of his family. The rules are very strict about getting in. Read the New Testament and you'll see that God is careful about how aliens are treated - welcome if they follow the rules.

And the Bible is clear about homosexuality. It is a sin. Since it is a sin, it is forgive-able but it is not OK. Albert Mohler wrote an article that lays out the Christian perspective on the repeal of DADT. Please take a look at it.

I like what Rep. Boenher said last week. He will not compromise, he will look for common ground. Compromise is always lose/lose. Common ground is the only way to get to the right answers.

And I like what Mike Huckabee said about the lame duck session of Congress. He said Congress should ends every session at the election. No session of Congress until January 1 (or whenever) the following year with the newly elected congressmen. That would put an end to stuff like this. The new Congress would have extended the tax cuts, stopped the DREAM Act, and left "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" alone.

Monday, December 06, 2010

"Dandy" Don

Don Meredith passed away today at the age of 72. He suffered a stroke a few years ago, had emphysema, and died of brain hemorrhage.
You may remember him as the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. I don't. Roger Staubach was the first Cowboys QB I remember. But Meredith was a Cowboy legend having earned a spot in the team's ring of honor.
He retired from playing at age 31 and moved into ABC's Monday Night Football booth next to Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell. That's how I remember "Dandy" Don. Football was different then. And football broadcasts were different. Those three men captivated this young boys imagination and cultivated love for the game At least, for the game as it was then.
I watched Sunday Night Football last night and really got a sick feeling watching the players showboat and try to hurt each other. Maybe that was also part of the game 40 years ago but this young boy couldn't see it. Many players today make more money in one year than the best players did then in their entire careers. All professional sports has taken the same turn…for the worse, in my opinion.
But MNF with "Dandy" Don was a weekly event that drew attention to what has now become an icon in America's game. By the way, it saddens me to call the NFL "America's game" because I am a huge baseball fan. But the truth is the truth.
I guess Madden came closer than anyone else in being the character/icon that Meredith was. He is my favorite football announcer because he was part of the scene when I began loving football. It's a sad even but one that takes me back to happy times.
"Turn out the lights, the party's over."
I wonder if Don Meredith was a Christian. Nothing he could accomplish in football matters to him right now. The only thing that matters is whether he embraced Jesus as Savior and Lord before he died.
It's the same for me and you. Embrace the Light of the World before the lights on your party go out.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Reluctant to Change

I just saw a commercial for the TV program "V." In the ad a woman shows a typical human reaction to change: the humans have to fight back because the aliens "are trying to change us."
That made me think about the Holy Spirit working in our lives. As Christians, we are being transformed, made new, changed from what we were/are to what God wants us to be. And we can be just as turned off by change as the woman in the commercial. Why is that?
One reason is our selfish nature. We want to be in total control of our lives. We don't like it when anyone has authority over us. Don't believe it? Do you drive 70 mph on the interstate or 73? Do you push the limits of the dress code at work or school? You may say that things like this don't really matter, but they show a lack of respect for authority. And a reluctance to change. So when the Holy Spirit convicts you about your language or how you treat your spouse, you push back. And you justify your actions either by comparing yours to someone else's or convincing yourself that it's not really that bad.
God created us to bring glory to him by honoring him, worshiping him, and obeying him. He also created us with a free will so that we can choose to do these things. Or we can choose not to do them.
If you believe God is all-knowing then you must believe he knows what is best for you. If you believe he is all-loving then you must believe he wants what is best for you. If you believe he is all-powerful then you must believe he can do what is best for you.
So when we choose to reject the Holy Spirit's work in our lives we are saying we know better, we care better, and we can do better. That's arrogant and selfish. And it robs you of God's blessings.
A reluctance to change will cost you. You are to be a new creation You are to be transformed. You are to be clay in the potter's hands.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Every day this week is a unique experience. Riley is out of school all week for Thanksgiving. So we are watching a bunch of Nick and Disney shows. Those of you with kids or grandkids about 9 years old know what I'm talking about!
Then he gets tired of that and plays Wii. Then he gets tired of that and…
But I'm glad he's home and I can be with him. Not many dads get that chance. I didn't get it with my older boys.
So this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for my boys. Jim is 26 and is married to Ashley. He lives in Conway and teaches music in one of the middle schools. He's a good guy.
Caleb is 24. He lives in Bentonville and works at Best Buy in Rogers. He's a sharp guy who's making a good way for himself.
Riley is 9, lives at home, and is in 4th grade at Arkansas Baptist Elementary School. He's a good kid and will be a good man, too.
We don't get to spend holidays together but I'm thankful for them. And I love them.
Enjoy the unique experiences with your children. They'll be grown and gone before you know it. But that's just a chance to enjoy more unique experiences. Don't ever stop being their dad. They may not know it or admit it, but they need it as much as you do.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A week in Alaska

Everybody ought to have the chance to do what I've just done. Spend a week in Alaska with Christian people who are excited about what God is doing through their church.

Alaska is a beautiful place. Even though most of the days were either snowy or overcast, the natural beauty is breath-taking. Just knowing that even more amazing scenic views are behind the clouds and under the snow makes me want to come back. I hope to come back with family and friends.

If/when I do, I'll make it a point to meet up with Scott Coffman and the folks at College Heights Baptist Church. We formed friendships this week that I know will endure time and distance. With email, skype, facebook, and other wonders of technology that we have these days, keeping in touch will only be hindered by our lack of desire. Lord, help me stay in touch with these wonderful Christians.

So, I'm packing up and heading home later tonight. Catching the redeye to Houston. Then on to Little Rock by 2:00 tomorrow. I'm thankful for the trip, the sights, the people, and the experience. And I'm ready to get home to my family and my church.

Friday, November 05, 2010


I'm in Alaska for a Men's Advance for churches in the Soldotna area. Then I'll be part of revival services at College Heights Baptist Church in Soldotna. I'm here through Thursday.

Not doing what you might think. I am a preacher and I love to preach and teach. But in my wide variety of experience, I am a musician of sorts. I don't think I'm all that, but I do enjoy it. And I spent many years leading music in churches and singing in gospel groups.

Through a strange connection of events, I'm here to lead music for the conference and revival. I kinda like that. I enjoy the few minutes each Sunday when I sit at the piano and lead our church in worship. But I'm a little apprehensive doing this for folks who have been led to believe I'm good at it. Danny Johnson is quite the salesman – even though he won't admit it.

So here I am. November is Alaska reminds me of Russia. There's not as much snow, yet, and the temperatures are around 0 degrees C instead of 0 degrees F. But the tall pines weighted down with snow is a pretty sight – and one that makes me think of the Sverdlovskaya Oblast.

Chuck, the man who owns the facility where I am staying – a VERY nice facility – took me out onto the deck this morning with excitement. It was 8:00 but still very dark because we are so far north. He took a spotlight and shined it alongside the road leading to the house. I large moose was munching on some grass sticking up through the snow. Chuck says it's only about a year old – just a small moose. But it must have been seven or eight feet tall! I hope I get to see a BIG one.

Just a few minutes ago I raised the blinds on my window to take a picture of the pretty scene just outside my room. I took a couple of pictures, turned away for a few seconds, then turned back to see the same moose walking past. I am a little slow getting the camera set to take a picture so I just have his backside. Check it out on

It's gonna be a great week It will be full of worship, teaching, sharing, and beautiful scenery. I'll try to post some pictures here as well as on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I bought a MacBook Pro last week. Now I’m trying to get everything from my HP laptop over to the MacBook. Not everything on the old computer will be useful on the new one. Not everything on the old computer will even work on the new one. For me, this is a hit and miss opportunity.

But it makes me think about people who come to Christ for salvation. (Not that Apple should be compared to our Savior.) Many new believers try to simply plug their old lifestyle into the new life. Just like with the computers, not everything is useful and not everything works.

Some things about the MacBook are similar. The ABCs and 123s are in the same place on the keyboard. But the CTRL, FN, and ALT keys I have become very comfortable with are not in the same place and maybe not even there at all or maybe called something else and doing something else.

And what happened to “My Computer”? Finding stuff on the MacBook takes me a while.

I’ll have to learn new applications for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. I may buy Office for Mac but I expect there will be some adjusting to do even taking this easier pathway.

In short, life is different now. And life is different for a new believer. It’s easier to keep on doing what you’ve always done. It’s safer to stick with the same friends. It’s more comfortable going to the same old places. But Christianity requires that we change. God’s Spirit is with us to make sure the change goes as planned – and that’s a good thing! All we have to do is follow the Spirit’s leadership.

Sure wish changing from a pc to a mac was that easy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

chasing false gods

Tonight in the worship service at CRBC, I preached from 1 Kings 11:1-13. Most of us would, when we read the text, remember that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. But that’s not the problem and not the point of the text. The problem is that Solomon disregarded God’s word regarding marriage and how a king should conduct himself and followed false gods. The result of the problem was 1,000 sexual relationships in his life, God was angry at him, and God revoked an intended blessing that Solomon’s descendants would always be on the throne of Israel.

So I got to thinking about these questions.

Do I seek God’s counsel and then obey what I learn?
Do I spend time in prayer concentrating on myself or on others?
Do I share the gospel with others or even care that they may be lost?
Do I give of myself to my church?
Do I honor God with my money…all of it?

The answers to these questions indicate whether I am following the Lord wholeheartedly or sometimes chasing after false gods. False gods of pride, success, secular solutions, selfishness.

Like Solomon, sometimes I get full of myself. Do you ever think you are bulletproof? Do you think some or all of the Bible’s commands do necessarily apply to you? Do you have patterns of selfishness in your lifestyle and spending habits?

God was angry at Solomon. The thought of God being angry with me scares me. I want to please my heavenly Father. I want to hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I want others to know that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life.

Father, I confess that I am a sinner. Forgive me and purify me from all unrighteousness. Please make me into the person you want me to be. Lead me in paths that honor you. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, October 22, 2010


A friend left for Fort Worth early Monday morning. He made a commitment to the Lord before he left that he would share the gospel with at least one person each time he stopped along the way. He called me mid-morning and left a message, “Hey, call me. I need an accountability partner.” I could only imagine what kind of temptation he was facing.

I returned the call and he told me about his promise to the Lord. He wanted me to hold him accountable to that promise. He called me again last night on his way home. He has shared his faith with someone each time he has stopped for food or gasoline or anything.

I find that I can make promises with ease. Good promises that reflect good intentions. But as good at making promises as I am, I’m better at breaking them. Especially promises I make to the Lord. I need someone to hold me accountable.

Accountability requires transparency and I’m about as good at that as I am at keeping promises and commitments. David wrote these words in Psalms. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV). That is transparency before the Lord.

Being transparent before the Lord is much easier than being transparent before our friends and family. The Lord KNOWS everything. My friends and family know only what I reveal to them. I can hide NOTHING from God but my friends and family know very little about me.

Why is transparency so important? Why does accountability matter? My friend traveling to and from Fort Worth put it like this. “How can I share the gospel with someone when I know I have unconfessed sin in my life?”

O God, search me, test me, know me, lead me.

And may I find at least one person with whom I can confide for the purpose of accountability.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It’s raining. And the prospect for a good rain today is pretty good. It’s been a while since that has happened.

And we need it. Our county has been under a burn ban for several weeks. The chance for a wildfire is high. The longer we go without rain the more dangerous the fire danger gets.

Reminds me of my spiritual life. It’s easy to dry out. It’s dangerous to dry out.

We enjoy the beautiful weather yet all the while the trees and grass get dryer and dryer. Sometimes I just coast through life enjoying things and neglecting the Lord. Before I realize it, my life is dry.

Rain on me, Lord. And let me soak it up.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back and Forth

This has been a roller coaster kind of week, but without the fun! A couple of key circumstances presented themselves over the last few months and I’ve been swaying back and forth trying to make a decision. Caught in the middle of all this is my doctoral studies.

I am writing a Final Project Prosposal to submit to my faculty advisor and the ProDoc committee for approval. Once approved, I can implement my project, write the Project Report, take the project interview, and graduate. I’ve been on this road for a long time and want to finish well.

Timing seems to be the issue placed on the table by circumstances. I must get most of my doctoral work completed within the next 5-6 months or wait almost 2 years.

I’m not sure why that frustrates me. I always procrastinate then complete my work under short deadlines. But in this situation, I’m not in control of the time table. I guess that’s what bothers me.

Wednesday, I decided to put the doctoral project on hold. Thursday, I decided to pick it up again. Counsel from godly people but a difference of opinion. So, like Steve Lemke told the doctoral workshop last month: “You da man!” I must make the decision. I am going forward with the doctoral project with the goal of completing the implementation step of the project by the end of February 2011. Then I’ll have until September 15 to write the Project Report. I’ll graduate with a Doctor of Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in December 2011.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Are we gonna follow the Holy Spirit or not?

In my sermon yesterday I talked about being ready to respond to anything the Lord says. Like Paul and his missionary friends were ready to move into Macedonia when the Lord gave the OK, we need to be ready to move, too. That means that as a church (or even an individual Christian) we must have processes in place that will allow us to proceed rather than hinder our obedience.

As an illustration I used my own family. I said, “Suppose the Lord wanted Deana and me to move to Russia to take Rusty and Lori Hart’s place in Ekaterinburg.”

A voice from the congregation shouted, “No!”

I was stunned. My response was that I had not sensed the Lord’s call in this but was just using it as an example. But what if Deana and I really did feel led to apply to the International Mission Board with the desire to be appointed to serve internationally? Would someone really say, “No!” to the Lord’s calling in our lives?

I hope Deana and I would say, “Yes!” I hope Riley would say, “Yes!” I hope our grown boys and our parents would say, “Yes!” I hope our friends would say, “Yes!”

And I hope my church would say, “Yes!” Maybe some would be glad to get rid of me! But I hope I’ve led this group of believers to understand that God’s agenda trumps ours. God does not give suggestions or options, he gives orders. If we say, “No!” to this, I wonder what other instructions from the Lord we are refusing to follow.

We can look inwardly (selfishly) and go against the Lord’s will or we can look toward eternity and say, “Yes!”

I guess the question is, “Are we going to follow the Holy Spirit or not?”

By the way, the point of my illustration was that my health and my financial situation would limit my ability to obey the Lord if he called me to serve in Russia. Would you pray for me about that?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Connecting with Your Children

Riley and I love baseball and watch games whenever we can find one on TV. When I left to come to the office this afternoon Riley was watching the playoff game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays. We are rooting for the Rangers.

Riley has come up with a cheer for one for the Rangers players. His last name is Cruz and Riley has been chanting “Cruz around the bases. Cruz around the bases.” I told him that would be a great homerun cheer.

The phone rang a few minutes ago. I answered and immediately heard, “Cruz around the bases. Cruz around the bases.” I knew he had hit a homerun. I asked what the score was, Riley told me, and we hung up. Short but special conversation.

You need a way to stay connected with your kids. What do you use?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Computer Updates

My laptop is almost 4 years old. Seems like each week I can actually feel it getting slower and slower. Some of my software requires regular updates (big ones) and that takes forever! Plus, the internet connection out here is terribly slow but I won’t talk bad about HughesNet in this post.

Computer use can be frustrating. And expensive.

My computer woes resemble my spiritual woes I sometimes experience. The first problem is the speed of my connection with the Lord. He’s always available and I can communicate with him whenever I want. The problem is…sometimes I don’t want to or I let the busy-ness of life distract me. My internet connection is via satellite so sometimes clouds and storms can block the signal – because the satellite is so far away. Prayer is not like that at all, or it doesn’t have to be. God is not far away. Nothing has to be between us. Sin sometimes does get in between me and God but the clouds of guilt are easily dispersed when I confess. God always forgives when I confess. Immediately – clear connection.

But my software may need upgrades. If I don’t read the Bible and pray every day, I don’t have the latest word from the Lord. It seems like I always get something for that day. Obviously, if I miss my quiet time I miss a word from the Lord. And I can’t make it through the day without something stalling like a non-responsive program in the computer.

And then sometimes the hardware has to be replaced. God’s Spirit is working in my life to change me from who I was (even who I am) into who he wants me to be. These are not often just subtle changes or tweaks but complete overhauls. I like my old laptop. I’m used to it. I know what all the buttons do. I like my old self, too. I’m comfortable with me! But I’m sure God looks at me and easily sees what is not useful, or even harmful, in my life. And he wants to upgrade.

I always like my new computer after just a few days or weeks. And I always like the changes God makes in my life. I don’t know why I want to hang on to the familiar, comfortable, old me.

I really need a new laptop. But I really need a new me. And God is ready to do it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I love baseball. I get excited when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. I listen for news from training camp about the Cincinnati Reds. I look forward to Opening Day. Sunday Night Baseball with Jon Miller & Joe Morgan is about as good as it can get. And MLB Network is the bomb!

So now we are a day away from the Playoffs. The Reds go to Philadelphia for a divisional series with the Phillies. The gurus on the sports networks aren’t giving them much of a chance against the defending National League Champions. But I think they will do it and move on the face either the Giants or the Braves for the NL Pennant.

By the end of October we should know who wins the World Series. My prediction: Reds over Rangers in 6. That’s wishful thinking but let’s see how it plays out.

It’s a long season. 162 games in regular season and as many as 19 more to win the Series. Sometimes (almost this year) a tie-breaker game must be played to determine who gets the last playoff spot. About April 1 until October 31 is baseball season. Winter is my favorite season but it would be even better if there was baseball!

Life is long, too. We aren’t promised anything except that life will be full of choices, obstacles, opportunities. How we face each will determine much of what happens next. Sometimes the years seem to fly by and at other times it seems the day will never end. Is anything constant in life? Yes, only one thing: Jesus Christ.

Jesus loves you, died for you to pay your sin debt, lives again defeating death for you, offers forgiveness and hope, and will return one day for you if you commit your life to him. I did this on the first Thursday of August 1972. That was 38 years ago. Each day, the Lord works on me, in me, and through me to make a difference in my life and in others’. He wants to do that for you, too. Click here to find out how you can commit your life to him.

Friday, October 01, 2010

DMin Progress

I spent the week in New Orleans attending a Doctor of Ministry workshop. If all goes as planned, I will receive and earned DMin from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in December 2011. That’s pretty exciting.

What stands between now and then, between here and there? Really, only me. I no longer will have deadlines imposed by a professor. I am in control of the rest of the journey. I will interact with a faculty mentor, a style reader, faculty readers, a field mentor, the ProDoc committee, and the exit interview team. Other than that, it’s on me.

Now will be a great time to finally get over procrastination. I’ve been meaning to do it for a long time but never got around to it. I keep putting off stopping procrastinating.

Tony Greene

One of my many endeavors over the years was promoting Southern Gospel concerts in Russellville, Arkansas. I grew up going to the Hughes Center in Russellville for concerts promoted by Ray Baker. He would bring in the Rambos, the Galileans, and the Arnolds. Probably other groups, too.

Then Tom and Tommy (can’t remember their last names) promoted concerts at Witherspoon Auditorium on the campus of Arkansas Tech University. They brought the Kingsboys in at the height of that groups popularity.

I went to Little Rock and Fort Smith every time Frank Arnold promoted a concert. The Hinsons, Hemphills, Nelons, Cathedrals, and many more. I had fallen in love with a style of music that overlays everything I do today.

Sitting in Parsons Rodeo Arena in Springdale, Arkansas one hot August night I heard a group of siblings who were barely in their twenties. The first time I heard the Greenes I was impressed: impressed with their harmonies, impressed with their lyrics, impressed with their stage presence, impressed with everything about them. The Hinsons had recently retired – and I loved the Hinsons. I told myself that the Greenes could replace the Hinsons because of their vocals, stage presence, and spirit. That never really developed because the young Greenes’ development took them another direction. But I was hooked.

So when I thought about promoting concerts, I knew I wanted the Greenes. The normal rate to get them was $1,200 but they did not travel from North Carolina to Arkansas very often and my concert would be a special trip. I offered $2,000. I’m not a very good businessman. But Tony Greene is. He took the offer and the concert was set. I am so thankful for business sponsors who absorbed the deficit for this and every other concert I ever promoted – again, I’m not a very good businessman.

My sponsors and I had the most expensive tickets in the house! But it was worth it to me when the Greenes sang “When I Knelt the Blood Fell,” their first number one song and number one on the charts at the time they came to Russellville. It was worth it when the Greenes sang “Miracle in Me,” one of my all-time favorites from the Greenes. It was worth it when I was able to sit around the table at Shoney’s after the concert and get to know Tony Greene, his brother Tim Greene, and Amy Lambert. I was in heaven!

I brought the Greenes back to Russellville again and again. Each time was special. Tony invited my group Jubilee to come to North Carolina and sing on the Singing at Grandfather Mountain concert he promoted. We did that twice and had a ball. Jubilee recorded our last album at the Loft Studio with Tim Greene.

Then I dropped off the Southern Gospel radar. Churches who like Southern Gospel don’t embrace a divorced man. But Tony always did. Each time I saw him at NQC or some other venue, he remembered me and treated me like a buddy. I appreciate that. Tony, along with Mark and Kenny Bishop and Steve Perkins of the Bishops, always made me feel like I still belonged.

Tony died this Tuesday, September 28, 2010. He is now singing IN the presence of Jesus whom he so often sang ABOUT.


I’ve been in post-graduate studies since 1996. When I began seminary, my Dad took me to Little Rock to shop for a computer. He said a computer would be indispensible. He did his masters and doctoral work using an electronic typewriter.

The homework assignment due this morning in the Project in Ministry Design Workshop – the last formal classroom situation of my doctoral in ministry – is to right out the context, scope, emphasis, product, and one sentence statement for my project. The professors said it is OK to turn this in on notebook paper in handwriting. I haven’t done that in a long, long time.

My handwriting is awful. Hope that doesn’t bring down my grade.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Am I Really Cut Out For This?

Here I sit on Friday with my DMin workshop looming on Monday. Have I mentioned lately that I am a procrastinator? Once again, deadlines near and I have much to do.

Got some disappointing news last night but have to get past that. Dealing with a hurdle today but can’t let it take too much attention.

Lots of people told me the DMin would be time-consuming. I’m OK with that when I can take care of other stuff in a timely manner. But I don’t do that very well.

Pray for me. Pray that I’ll stay on top of everything – the DMin project, the church/job, and especially the family.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today I met with pastors from three other churches – all within 5 miles of Cross Road Baptist Church. We talked about working together to make sure every household in our communities received a gospel message. I have not seen any demographical data, but I’m guessing that could be 10,000 people or more. That’s three times as many people as lived in my hometown when I was in high school.

An undertaking of this size requires cooperation. Southern Baptists are known for cooperation. We claim to be cooperative. We named our missions funding mechanism the Cooperative Program. We are all autonomous, independently organized churches, but we do best when we work together.

Our rural area is home to folks who grew up here and have lived here all their lives or have returned here after some years away. The area is also home to former city-dwellers who have built our bought homes as an escape or retreat from the city hassles. A wide diversity lives here. Not so much ethnic diversity as socio-economic diversity. Our churches are charged (by the Lord) to minister to all of them and reach them all with the gospel.

Cross Road may need to re-tool. The church was started in the early ‘70s but this is 40 years later. The gospel is the same but the people who need it are different. How can we take the same gospel to people in ways that are relevant to them. Don’t misunderstand: the gospel is always relevant but the method of delivery can become outdated. Just like milk is still milk, but the horse-drawn wagon has been replaced with the diesel tractor-trailer.

Even with the most relevant method of delivery, CRBC can’t reach everyone without working together with sister churches. I imagine those 10,000+ people who receive a gospel message from our churches will either reject the message or accept it and find meaningful worship and opportunities to grow and serve in one of our churches.

God will get the glory when we live out our Christianity in effective cooperation with one another.

Friday, September 17, 2010

River Market

Little Rock has a trended night spot called the River Market. It’s full of restaurants (bars with food, really) and other cultural grabs. The Clinton Presidential Library is not too far away. I guess it’s been good for Little Rock’s economy, especially the downtown area.

We are headed there tonight. Deana’s boss gave her a gift certificate to one of the restaurants and we don’t like to let free food escape! We’re going early, though. Maybe we’ll miss most of the bar-hopping and general indecency. Hope I don’t show up on the 10 o’clock news.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Christians are not perfect people, just forgiven people. That should be a comforting thought to us but many can’t grasp the depth of the truth. They continue to live with the burden of sin weighing on their lives. And it’s not necessary.

Two issues are at play here. One is that the Christian can’t accept that God has forgiven him. He prays asking the Lord to forgive him and “leaves it all on the altar.” But when he gets up from the altar he gathers up everything he just laid out on the altar and takes it back with him. All the guilt that should be released through forgiveness, he still carries. All the disappointment. All the shame. Yes, Christians should feel guilty, disappointed, and ashamed – before forgiveness. But once forgiven, he should take the same position God takes: that is, God forgives and no longer holds the sin against the sinner. Jesus died for this.

The second issue concerns unconfessed sin. It’s one thing to feel guilty, disappointed, and ashamed after you have confessed your sin – it’s unnecessary and unhealthy. But those feelings are completely appropriate when you have not confessed your sin. The Holy Spirit works in your life to convict you of sin, this leads to those feelings. Forgiveness is designed to alleviate those feelings and return the sinner to right standing with God. The solution is simple: confess your sin and God will forgive you.

But we don’t confess our sins because we would have to admit we’ve been wrong in our relationships, attitudes, actions, etc. Confession implies falling short of expectations. Confession indicates weakness – and it should! Our sin nature is a chink in the armor. We are not perfect, just forgiven…when we confess our sins.

Many dangers exist with unconfessed sin, but one ties these two issues together. The response  you may have when you can’t accept God’s forgiveness may begin to look and feel just like the conviction of unconfessed sin. So the two completely separate issues blur into one. In other words, you begin to think you have not really confessed or God has not really forgiven because you still feel guilty, disappointed, and ashamed. Or, even worse, you think you don’t have to confess because not confessing feels just like confessing – the stench of sin loses its fowl odor.

Listen to the truth of scripture. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Can you believe that? If you can, you can live as a forgiven Christian. God is faithful: he will do what he says. God is just: he will do what is right.

Will you confess your sins? If you need to talk, please send me a message.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I love preaching. I love to do it and I love to hear others do it. In person, on TV, on the radio, and now on podcasts. Technology is wonderful!

As I ran errands today I listened to a couple of sermon podcasts that I pickup on iTunes. Driving to and from revival services (about 40 minutes each way) I listened to a couple more. For me, the key is to pick speakers you really like and listen to just about everything they do. I like to listen to Ed Stetzer, Al Mohler, Bruce Chesser, and a few others. Seems like their podcasts are always helpful.

Now I need a GMC pickup with an MP3 input. My Chevy Classic doesn’t have one. That’s a good enough reason to buy a truck, isn’t it?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Revival at Ironton

I have the special privilege to preach for revival services at Ironton Baptist Church beginning Sunday. Pastor Sidney Thompson has led the church in growth and construction. I’m looking forward to these meetings.

Revival is the spiritual stirring in the heart of a believer toward deeper commitment and greater action. So I’ll speak about the marks of a revived Christian, knowing God, pressing on to Christlikeness, and following the Spirit.

Pray for Ironton, Cross Road, and me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Emphasizing Evangelism

I’ve been thinking. That could lead to trouble! But maybe not; let’s see how this goes.

What if every Christian would have a meaningful gospel conversation with an unbeliever this week? What would happen? Can you imagine the impact that would have?

I’ve read articles citing studies indicating that fewer than 5% of believers ever have such a conversation. And we wonder why the church is not keeping pace with population growth in Arkansas? Five people are doing the work for themselves and nineteen other people when it comes to sharing their faith. And every believe is called by God to do it. It certainly is not the 5% who are at fault.

Churches work like this (at least the churches I’ve been involved with): any person who shows any interest in do anything in/for/through the church is allowed to do it asked to do more. This enables the people who show no interest or little interest to be spectators when Christianity is really an all-involved undertaking.

So I’m guessing that if this holds true with most situations in churches it holds true in evangelism, too. If a person shows interest in sharing the gospel, then those who have little or no interest in it sit back and let them do it.

Maybe the 5% has some responsibility for the problem. Not in the fact that they are sharing, because we are all supposed to share. But in the fact that they probably gladly accept the extra responsibility placed upon them by those with little or no interest. Anyone who is carrying the load for someone else, when the other person can and should be carrying their own load, is hurting the spread of the gospel. How can this be? Well, it seems obvious to me that more people can win more people to Christ. One person can lead a few more to Christ – all of us could. But many more people involved in sharing their faith will result in multiplication or exponential growth.

I’m taking an honest look at my evangelistic activity to see where I can do more – not more than I should, but as much as I should. Will you join me in that pursuit? Maybe you can do better; I think I can.

I’m also evaluating my leadership. I should be leading the people whom I pastor to share their faith. I can do better at that, too. And I will when evangelism becomes a priority in reality for me.

And I’m going to pray for evangelism more than I have before. I will pray for the lost to be saved and for the saved to reach out to the lost.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Labor Day

Labor Day weekend marks the end of Summer for many people. For me, it marks the beginning of Fall. Yes, I am aware that Fall doesn’t officially come til September 21, but the Summer routines are behind us and the Fall routines are here. Personally, I’m glad.

I don’t do well in hot weather. I sweat too much. “Not much for a fat guy” is what a friend actually told me once. Too much for anybody, I think.

I prefer lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s. Perfect weather! Too bad I can’t order up a perfect day every day.

One day everything will be perfect…every day. I’m looking forward to Fall and Winter but not as much as I’m looking forward to Heaven. The Bible tells us a little about it but only a little. Folks like to speculate but nobody really knows. It is beyond our imagination. I had a fortune cookie that told me I have an active mind and a keen imagination. Still, I can’t imagine what Heaven will be like. But I’m looking forward to it. And I’m ready for it.

I hope you are, too. Getting ready for Heaven requires accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

Do you know that you are a sinner? We all are so you might as well admit it. More importantly, God knows.

And God did something about you sin (which would keep you away from God). Jesus Christ – God’s son, God himself – died on the cross paying the penalty for your sins. Do you believe that? I mean believe it so that it drives who you are?

If you will confess (or proclaim) that Jesus is your Lord and commit to live your life his way and for his glory, you’ll be ready for Heaven.

In Christian-ese, we call that “being saved.” I hope you are ready for Heaven. Let me know if you’d like to talk about it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Church Planting

I will be in a meeting today talking about church planting with other pastors from around our state. We hope to develop a network that will assist smaller churches like Cross Road to be involved. So many times when I mention planting a church I get responses like “What can we do?” or “We don’t have enough money” or “That takes more people than we have.” I’m hoping to rebut those responses by joining with other churches to start churches.

Cross Road won’t have to come up with the resources alone. We can partner with other churches of various sizes. Our people can experience church planting! So I’m looking forward to today’s meeting and to the Great Commission ministry that will grow from it.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I believe in the biblical principle of tithing. In short, tithing is my acknowledgement that God owns all things, is worthy of my worship, and knows my needs better than I do. A tithe is 10% of your gain. It is based on gross income. It includes investment income. It includes gifts. It goes to the local church. It goes into the general budget fund.

A church made up of tithers is a church made up of maturing Christians.

When a Christian does not tithe he is showing his lack of faith in God.

The church can fully fund needed staff positions, ministry projects, missions trips, etc., through the tithe. The reason churches have to conduct fund raisers and have designated accounts is to fund projects the tithe should fund.

Do you tithe? For all pastors, I say “Thank you.”

Do you not tithe? Why not? Do you not believe God owns all things? Do you not believe God is worthy of your worship (tithing is an act of worship)? Do you not believe that God knows your needs better than you do?

Deana and I began exceeding the tithe many years ago. A few times throughout the year we increase our giving by $5 or $10 per week and maintain that new level of giving. I really cannot tell you what percentage we currently give because we increase our tithe like this. I’ve heard of others who increase their tithe annually by 1%. Over many years they are now giving well above the tithe, too. People with practices like these, including my family, can testify to God’s abundant blessings. I will not tell you that our income skyrockets when we are faithful, but I will tell you that God’s blessings come in many different packages – and his blessings always come.

I challenge you to be a tither.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Doubling Up

Hard times have set in at the Loyd household. We are able to buy groceries and make the car payments. The church provides a house and utilities. But for the third budget in a row, they won’t be able to increase their financial support. Deana and I feel like we’ve been pretty good stewards during this time by reducing our spending and eliminating or doing without some extras. But it’s been tight. So I’m looking for a job to provide additional income.

The main reason we need to do this is because we elected to put Riley back into private school this year. He attended Arkansas Baptist Elementary School for K4-K5. When I became pastor of CRBC I no longer had a secular job so we couldn’t afford to keep him there. Now, after three years of cutting back, a paid-in-full loan payment we’ve had for a few years, and the start of a tuition discount for pastors, we are pretty close to being able to put him back in ABES. So we did it.

Now I’m looking for a second job to make sure we are able to cover the tuition payments. So far, the best prospect is substitute teaching at ABES. The superintendent was pleading with parents to apply so maybe I’ll get all the days I need. Not even sure what it pays. Hopefully, I’ll have an interview soon and start before long.

That’s a prayer request. And a praise.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Healthy Living

How many times have I written about this? So many that you probably roll your eyes. I get it. But I’ve decided to start living healthy. As a matter of fact, I’ve lost about 5 pounds this week. I need to stay on an aggressive weight-loss plan because I have a lot to lose. I don’t want to take three years to lose it. I want to lose it quickly – I understand the problems with quick weight-loss – and I want to change my eating and exercise habits so that I can maintain a healthy body weight.

So far, I’ve only changed my diet. And that by only a little. I’m snacking much less than before. I’ve substituted my regular high calorie, high fat lunch with a large portion of raw vegetables. I eat celery, cucumber, bell pepper, and carrots for lunch. I’m eating a better supper. I’ve been good at breakfast for quite a while. My main problem is eating when I’m away from the house. Too many fast food value meals.

So I need to stay with my breakfast and lunch plans, do better at supper, and stay away from fast food restaurants. And add daily exercise.

I’ll post updates from time to time. Pray for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Memphis Pastors Conference

I like good preaching. I like good teaching. We got some of both at the Pastors Conference hosted by Steve Gaines a Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. I wish the part on apologetics would have drilled down a little deeper. We heard the Why is Apologetics Needed? and the What is Apologetics? but I sure could use a little help with the How do You do Apologetics? Guess I’ll have to add some books to my reading list.

The best part of the day was the fellowship with other pastors. Twenty-one guys from Pulaski Baptist Association and 11 from Faulkner Baptist Association road together on a bus provided by Geyer Springs First Baptist Church. That was a lot of fun. Every time we get together you can count on some clowning around, some deep discussions, and world-problem solving.

Thanks to Danny, Larry, Doug, and Jeff for making this possible.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Day

Today is Riley’s first day of 4th grade. He’s done the “first day” thing several times now but today was a little different. He says he doesn’t like school. That’s different. Riley has always liked school and the first day has been a time for excitement and surprises. I go to pick him up in less than two hours. We’ll see how he liked it.

I think the issue Riley is dealing with is two-fold. This is his 6th first day, counting K4 and K5. It’s old hat. The flair is gone. He’s seen it all, he thinks. Have you ever grown complacent in your relationship with God and his people?
“It’s just another Sunday.”
“Is it time for another revival already?”
“Can’t I just take a break from teaching my class for a while?”
“Please don’t ask me to help on this project.”
Complacency is your own failure to see the excitement in something. Bottom line, it’s the result of lagging behind the Lord in your daily walk.

Riley’s second issue may also inflict church-goers. He’s been hearing from other kids that school is no fun. He’s starting to believe it. And if he acts upon those beliefs, reality will fall right in line. School wont’ be fun if you know it’s not going to be fun. Do you know anyone who thinks about church like this? One sour attitude attracts others like a dead ‘possum attracts vultures. And I mean to draw parallels in just about all the ways you can think! Going to church is a terrible experience when you hang out with others who think the same thing. Sitting through a service is boring (I can’t stand the way people use that term to describe what is really their own lack of desire to get involved) when you sit back and do nothing.

Yes, it is true that God doesn’t change, but the depths of his character is beyond our ability to completely research during a lifetime. The Bible says his mercies are new every morning; so I believe each worship experience can be new and fresh even though you been to hundreds of them. You can listen to people who have a poor walk with Jesus, you can make up your mind before you get here, or you can come to church this weekend like it’s the first day.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The last week or so has been a span of hot, hot days. Temps reached 100+ and humidity was off the scale. But a front passed through yesterday and immediately the temperature and humidity were much lower. I think we all praised the Lord for the relief.

The transition between the hot weather and the cooler weather was accompanied by a storm. As the comforting air collides with the stifling air, a storm brews. The comforting air always wins.

Seems like this is the way our troubles are, too. At least my storms always seem to be the transition from turmoil to calm. The most difficult times in my life have been when I realized I needed to be closer to the Lord. God has always waited patiently for me and Satan has always put obstacles in the way. The result: epic storms.

Some people are afraid of storms. I understand that, but don’t be afraid of the storms that usher in the peace of God. Change is uncomfortable but what God’s Spirit will change you into is worth it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


I spent about 90 minutes on a Facebook chat with a man who graduated from the same high school that I did but several years earlier. We didn’t really know each other but through a sequence of posts on Facebook we began the chat.

Regarding religion, he is Buddhist, it anything. He leaned that way but really didn’t believe anything.

I’m Christian and unashamedly so.

The chat was interesting.

I talked about salvation in Jesus Christ alone. He said he could embrace Christianity except for the part about Jesus being God. The problem is that you can’t be Christian and not believe that.

My friend was home in Arkansas for just a short time then returned overseas to teach. We had no contact since then.

I learned that he died earlier this week. To my knowledge, he had not embraced Jesus Christ for salvation. I hope there is something I don’t know and that he and I can strike up a friendship in heaven for eternity.

I learned something a year ago. Everyone wants love, forgiveness, and redemption. They may not know how to express that desire but that is an inner longing.

I learned something this week. The need to share the gospel with all people is an urgent need. Time is short. Eternity awaits us all.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fourth Grade Testing

Riley is going into the fourth grade in just a couple of weeks. He went to K4 and K5 at Arkansas Baptist, then first grade at Lawson Elementary, then 2nd and 3rd grade at Chenal Elementary. We wish we could have kept him at Arkansas Baptist but my move from bivocational to fulltime pastorate came along with a pay cut so we couldn’t afford the tuition any longer. However, this year the school is giving pastors a substantial discount so Riley is headed back.

Today is the day he is tested (assessed, they call it) to determine where he is in comparison to where they think incoming fourth graders should be. He was a little ahead of the public school students when he went from private to public so I’m expecting he’ll be a little behind going back into the private school system. Two of Riley’s years in public school were excellent; one year was not so much. Fortunately, that down year was not last year. He made up some ground in third grade that he had lost in second grade.

His mama is more nervous about the testing than Riley is. But it is what it is. Wish I had made him read more this summer. And work on his multiplication tables. Did you know they don’t call it that anymore? What I learned as “multiplication tables” Riley learned as “math facts.” A sign of the times? People aren’t interested in tables of information anymore, just give ‘em the facts as quick and concise as possible. Maybe it’s just that two syllables is easier than seven.

I just reconnected with a friend from fourth grade on Facebook. Tod Riley was at Dardanelle for just one year but he and I were good buddies. The playground had an old tree trunk (huge) laying on it. It was the favorite play place and meeting place. Tod and I spent lots of time there. I hope Riley makes friends and memories in fourth grade like that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Looking Out My Window

I am sitting at the dining room table looking through the blinds into the front yard. The house is close to the road and we have a circle drive so there is not much grass in this part of the yard. What I can see are two wooden planters, three pine trees (my father-in-law calls this place “Three Pines Estates”), the road and beyond. Not much on this hot summer day except the weeds in the planters blown about by the dry, hot, summer wind.

So I’m reflecting on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus recorded in John 3.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

God’s Spirit is always around us, within us. God’s ways are higher than our ways so he is often up to things we don’t know about or understand. Even our own salvation is hard to understand.

Another glance out the window and it seems the wind has stopped. But staring a little long I see slight movement in the planters. So it is with God. Sometimes a quick glance into our lives and we think God has stopped. But if you’ll spend a little time seeking for the Lord you will find he is at work.

The wind is sometimes refreshing. Sometimes the wind blows things out of the way. Sometimes it brings rain that cleanses the air.

Looking out my window reminds me of God’s presence in my life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We have a hummingbird feeder on the front porch. I can see it as I sit at the table working. An interest thing is taking place: the birds are sitting on the perches of the feeder while they sip the homemade Kool-Aid. They just sit there. I’ve never seen them just sit there.

All the hummingbirds I have ever seen have been flapping their wings at super speeds. Even while they sip the Kool-Aid. I’ve never seen a hummingbird sit on the perch.

I wonder why the bird known for its rapid wing movement would sit still. Apparently, the constant flapping doesn’t hurt them or tire them. So why rest?

Pretty good question to ask each of us. We are so used to the rapid lifestyle we lead that stopping or resting never crosses our minds. Sure, we say we need a day to relax or we take vacations to get away from it all, but we never really slow down. It’s true, isn’t it? When was the last time you slowed down or stopped long enough to rest for an extended period of time?

It’s been a while for me. I’ve had business trips, ministry weeks, camps, and stuff. I have weekly deadlines for sermons and publications. Today is July 20 and I thought 2010 just started.

So the lesson of the hummingbird is strange but important. We need to slow down. Stop. Relax. Enjoy what God has provided for us.

Down Time

It’s been hectic these past few weeks. Homecoming. SBC in Orlando. Fathers Day. PBA Day Camp. VBS. July 4. Picnic at the Parsonage. Siloam Camp. Sunday Evening Outreach. I’m behind schedule on the normal things around the house and office. So, “no rest for the weary,” right?

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Easier said than done. But better done than ignored. So I’m taking it easy this week. Still going to the office. Still making the rounds a pastor makes. Just spending a little less time doing all that and more time with the Lord.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home from Siloam

Cross Road Baptist Church made a huge philosophical shift this week. We took kids to camp. Several years have passed since the church has taken kids to a week-long summer camp. I’ve heard lots of reasons why but I can’t accept any as valid since camp is so great a tool for evangelism and discipleship – the heartbeat of the Christian church. CRBC is headed in a good direction. We have a core group of kids who are excited about camp – that’s not been the case in a long time here. We have leaders who believe in Siloam. That’s a fresh attitude, too. And the commitment to Siloam will get stronger each year.

Now, here’s a little info about this year’s camp. Riley, McKenzie, Isaac, Tripp, and Brittany made up a great group of campers. Some of them and some of their families were a little apprehensive last weekend but this weekend is so much different. Siloam does that to people. I attended the children’s park with four of the students. Gwen McCallister attended the youth park with Brittany. All of us had a great time highlighted by vibrant worship, biblical preaching, new relationships, and HOT weather! Plus record rainfall for a week of camp. More than 5 inches of rain fell on Monday night and another strong (but short) storm came through the camp Thursday night. The creek was rolling most of the week.

Both the boys’ cabin (B-14) and the girls’ cabin (G-13) won a daily honor for cleanest cabin. It’s not just that our cabins were cleaner than the others, which would not be a hard accomplishment to achieve, but the cabins were actually very clean. Good job, guys and gals. Thank you.

A new game called Ga-Ga Ball captured the boys’ attention. I call it Goo-Goo Ball because some of the players acted like babies when they were forced out of the game. It’s a fast-pasted game something like dodge ball. I’m sure the boys will talk about it…a lot!

This year’s theme is “Search and Rescue.” And the memory verse is “For the son of man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Some people are just plain lost and need help. Others (believers) may be off course and struggling to find their way. They need help. Jesus came for them and for us. Let’s join him on the greatest search and rescue mission ever. Siloam is an important piece of the puzzle.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Praying in Faith

A few days ago Ken Whitten posted this on Twitter and I retweeted and sent to Facebook.

Faith is the bucket of power lowered by the rope of prayer into the well of God's abundance. What's down in the well, comes up in the bucket.”

A friend on Facebook made a great comment asking a question about a situation many of us have faced.

“And when the bucket comes up empty anyway? What does that tell you?”

I am posting my response here in hopes that maybe it will help you when you pull up an empty bucket.

The key to praying in faith is to persistently seek God's desires. I've prayed for things I've wanted and the bucket has come up empty. God doesn't fill my wish list but gladly and generously gives me what he desires that I have. The Bible refers to that as praying according to his will.

Another key is to realize that God desires a right relationship with us most of all. I've had to ask for forgiveness for things that have stood between God and me before I could experience all the other things.

And sometimes all that is good but it's just not yet God's timing. From my perspective, I pray thinking now is the right time. God sees my life from his eternal perspective so he knows when is the best time.

Paul Overstreet wrote a song 20 years ago that says, "Keep praying til the answer comes."

Three hindrances to effective praying are selfishness, sinfulness, and stopping. We are to pray according to God’s will and in so doing we won’t pray selfishly but seeking his greater desires. Sin can hinder our praying so we are to confess our sin, which is more important to God, so that we can talk with him about other things. Persistence is important in prayer – not in order to change God’s mind by pestering him but by agreeing with him about the importance of the thing we are praying for – so we cannot stop praying until we get the answer.

A man in my church is so confident in the Lord that he prays about it and leaves it in God’s hands. I agree with that and don’t want to imply that we must pray constantly about this one thing. Instead, we pray until we have confidence that the Lord will do what we are praying for. So we pray until we no longer pray selfishly. We pray until our prayers are obstructed by our sin. And we keep praying until the answer comes.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Thoughts on "The Decision"

The LeBron James spectacle is nowhere near over. Dan Patrick said on his radio show yesterday that the American culture created the atmosphere for such arrogance and selfishness. The loss of Christian values across the landscape of America is evident. “I’m going to take my talents…” Who does LeBron think he is? Who snickered with approval when he practiced that line?

I’m not a fan of the NBA so I’ve not seen him play very much and I won’t tune in any more often because of this. Some might say that I have no dog in this hunt because of that. But the greater loss or gain is not about basketball but about what is acceptable human behavior.

No doubt about it, LeBron can and should make his own decision. But narcissism has received another grand endorsement. Like we needed that.

Now here’s a better decision: accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and yielding to his Spirit to guide all you do.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

What Kind of Dad Am I?

I wonder sometimes what kind of Dad I am. I have three boys and I’ve never been fishing with them. One of the best memories I have of my dad is fishing with him below the dam on the Arkansas River at Dardanelle. Can I be a good dad and not go fishing with my boys?

Time lost is never regained. The years of being a non-custodial parent living at least 125 miles away have taken their toll. I am praying for God’s guidance in restoring and recapturing what has been lost and damaged. I want to be a good dad.

So what kind of Dad am I? I am one who loves his children and wants the best for them. I am one who is proud of his sons. I am one who wants their lives to center around Jesus Christ. I am one who wants to spend time with his sons. I am one who thinks his sons can accomplish anything.

Friday, July 02, 2010

With or Without Opposition

I’m watching Riley play a baseball game on the Wii. He is using the 2-player setting but just playing by himself. When he’s pitching the other remote is laying in the floor beside him. When he’s batting he pushes the button to pitch a fastball down the middle. Then he hammers a home run. The score is 15-0 with no out in the bottom of the 1st inning. He’s getting bored.

As fun as winning a baseball game is, doing it with no effort isn’t much fun.

The Bible describes the Christian life as a battle against evil spiritual forces. We are assured of victory when we trust in the Lord but the battles are always hard-fought. I wonder if we appreciate what the Christian life offers. Or do we get bored. Or do we miss the joy.

Although we have opposition, we can still have joy. And even when the Lord is taking care of our battles behind the scenes we shouldn’t get bored.

The score is now 29-0. He’ll quit soon.

Don’t quit on Jesus. He won’t quit on you.

Rest for the Weary

June has become the most physically demanding month on the calendar for this pastor. And nobody is to blame but myself.

Our church is associated with the Pulaski Baptist Association. PBA hosts a Day Camp for 1st-6th graders each year in June. We are also a Southern Baptist Church and the annual meeting for the SBC is in June. Those events are scheduled well in advance and I want to participate in both.

But then I asked our Vacation Bible School director to move VBS from July (the traditional time for it at CRBC) to June because I think we’ll have better participation and impact. We’ve done this the past three years.

So June is jammed full. The only week not scheduled with an event is the first week of the month and school is not yet out by then.

Here I sit on July 2. VBS ended yesterday. A three-week run of physically demanding events is over. I’m tired.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 1 of VBS

We had a great start to VBS last night. We usually start on Monday, end on Friday, and have Family Night the next Sunday. But this year we decided to start on Sunday with Day 1 and Family Night rolled into one. I think it was a success. We have 36 children registered and expect more to come today and tomorrow.

Jeff Deckard with Cowboy Up for Christ Ministry shared his testimony and the gospel with the help of his Palomino “Little Man.” Jeff compared the relationship he has with “Little Man” to that which God has with us. Obedience. Trust. Sacrifice. His message was good for all ages. You can find out more information about Cowboy Up for Christ Ministry at the website.

The Bible study for Day 1 centered on creation. Did you know that you (and all humanity) are God’s greatest creation? That’s the truth and I can praise him for that! God is good.

Friday, June 11, 2010

SBC Just a Few Days Away

I’m just a few hours away from leaving for the SBC in Orlando. Pretty excited about it for a few reasons. But bummed for one: Deana and Riley don’t get to go. We started out two years ago trying to save money for this trip but never accumulated enough. We don’t save very well so just a few unexpected expenses along the way wiped us out. We are now saving for a trip to the Grand Canyon next year when the SBC is in Phoenix. Praying that this works out better for us.

Now for the positives. First, messengers to the convention will hear recommendations from the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force that was assembled after the 2009 meeting. I have been supportive of a Great Commission Resurgence from the beginning a little over a year ago. I’ve also been vocal with my critique, both positive and negative. I think someone Tweeted about me a few days ago. At least, the tweet made me think twice before speaking so boldly. I think my comments were valid; maybe a bit emotionally energized. I am ready to vote for the Task Force recommendations and expect great opportunities for me, my church, and my denomination.

Second, I am traveling with five pastor-friends. This should be a blast! No telling what will happen along the way with the likes of Danny Johnson, Lary Tidball, and John Watt on board. It will be up to Larry Walters, Tom Strike, and me to provide balance and sanity.

Third, I need energized. I’ve worked in organizations with hundreds of other people and managed a team of more than a dozen while also indirectly overseeing distant locations. I’ve owned my own retail company. I’ve been in positions of great responsibility and positions requiring manual labor. But being a single staff pastor is the most draining task I have ever undertaken. This is not a bad thing and I’m not complaining, but I need to hear the messages and reports that will be part of the SBC. I get very few opportunities to be the listener; I’m usually the speaker. This will be a great week of participating in a different way that always serves to energize me for my calling as pastor of CRBC.

Though the SBC probably won’t cycle back to Orlando for several years, I have moved to the front burner a trip to Disney World for Deana, Riley, and me. We have to save better this time and I need to lose some weight so I will fit in the roller coaster cars. Would you pray for me about that?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Weary of GCRTF Stuff

My inbox gets crowded with stuff for and against the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force recommendations that will be presented next week at the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. Luckily, the convention is soon and the issue will be decided.

But I really don’t think the rhetoric will die down. My circle of pastor-friends is divided. I suspect that is true across the convention. And if it is, then the vote next week won’t really settle anything.

Those who are promoting the recommendations make me believe that they think there is no other solution to issues facing the convention and that many young pastors and their churches will leave the convention if this doesn’t pass.

Those who are against the recommendations make me believe that they think change is the worst way to approach the issues facing the convention.

I like the idea of emphasizing world evangelization and admit my failure to put forth my best effort. I can do much better personally and leading my church in this area.

I like the idea of emphasizing unreached areas of North America even if that means I have less denominational support for my traditional Bible-belt church.

I like the idea of reducing bureaucracy in a denomination that claims to be a convention of churches rather than a top-to-bottom hierarchy.

I like the idea of allowing those who specialize in training missionaries for cross-cultural ministry to do so even if that blurs or eliminates previous lines of authority.

I like the idea that more of my church’s CP dollars go to outside-Arkansas Southern Baptist entities. I’ve never considered designating those dollars and probably would not consider it regardless of the outcome of the vote. But I would like to know that Arkansas Baptists are being the best stewards possible.

What I do not like is the perception (mine) that some SBC leaders want to improve their SBC giving by creating nomenclature to disguise this truth: they will spend no more on missions than they currently do. Why the high pressure on this issue? It must be embarrassing to run for a national SBC office and have it published that your church does not support CP very well.

From the beginning I’ve been surprised at the response from both sides. Some seem offended that someone would question their stewardship. But I get correspondence regularly from SB entities encouraging me to be a good steward. Even had a guy imply my church is not really giving what we claim we give to CP because we don’t know the math necessary for preparing a budget.

And then the proponents of the task force recommendations want me to believe that their solution is the one and only solution that will fix the problems within our convention.

I love the Southern Baptist Convention. We do a good job of preparing men and women for ministry. We have a system of financial support for missionaries that has no comparison. We value all people and want them to hear the gospel and know Jesus as Savior and Lord. We cooperate as autonomous churches.

I’m all for a Great Commission Resurgence. I preach it. I believe we must get back to the Great Commission. I am pressing my church to be a missions outpost with global impact. This is the focus of my doctoral project. I’m committed to the idea.

But I’m weary of all the stuff in my inbox.

My church is small. Our missions dollars don’t total much. I wonder if my opinion will be as valued as they want me to believe my vote is.