Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunny Days

Spring has sprung at my house. The daffodils and pear trees are in bloom. And the days are warm. The jacket needed in the mornings definitely get tossed in the back seat by noon. It’s a pretty time of the year.

Temps will probably be in the 70s when we get on the plane in Little Rock Thursday. When we step out of the airport in Ekaterinburg Saturday morning the temperature will likely be in single digits. Spring hasn’t yet arrived in Russia!

But we are looking forward to a week of ministry in a place desperate for the hope found only in Christ Jesus.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness

I’ve watched a few of the NCAA Tournament games yesterday and today. Upsets and OT are the headlines. I like watching the fans in the stands. Some are wearing their school’s colors. Some are waving banners and flags and posters. Some and just plain crazy – like the guys stripped down to their jeans and had their torsos painted. I saw a video on the local news last night about Arkansas Tech’s fan who wears a green spandex suit similar to Blue Man Crew – covered head to toe. He runs around the stands hyping up the crowd.

They love their teams and will do anything to show it.

I love Jesus but sometimes hold back from showing it. It’s not my personality to make a scene but surely I can be more demonstrative when it comes to praising God publicly. What about you?

“I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is the power of God
for the salvation of everyone who believes:
first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
(Romans 1:16 NIV)

Monday, March 15, 2010

On the Mark

I am reading the Gospel of Mark today. This gospel is one of my four favorites because of its fast-paced action. Jesus is always doing something. Mark moves from one thing to the next. While other gospels may be docu-dramas or romances, Mark is an action-packed thriller.

Speakers at the Expository Preaching Workshop at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary challenged me to read the Bible to a greater degree than I have in the past. I’ve always thought that if I read a little each day, maybe the whole Bible in a year, I would be OK. But when I consider that the Bible is not only my life but my living, I realize I should read it more.

For the moment, I have three reading plans. One to read the Bible through in a year. One to read Psalms and Proverbs each month. And one to read the text for upcoming sermons and Bible studies. Maybe I should integrate these somehow but I just know that I have to read the Bible more. Why? It’s the “trade journal” for my career. Three times a week people sit before me with this question in their hearts: What does God’s word have for me today?

The challenge to read the Bible has brought me great encouragement and joy. As I continue, I expect to learn more about God, his will, and myself.

On the Mark…get set…go!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Morning

It’s my own fault.  I am responsible for it. I do it to myself.

Can’t remember the last time I actually had a day off with only R&R on the schedule. My work habits through the week always result in business to do on Friday and Saturday. I get everything done – mostly. I just have to take one or two extra days a week to get all my chores finished.

This week was a little different because I spent Monday and Tuesday at a conference in Fort Worth at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Much of what I do it worthwhile – like the conference. Just a few things that I need to cut out throughout the week so I’ll have a true day off.

So this Saturday morning is filled with stuff I have to get done by Sunday morning. I’ll break for Riley’s baseball practice, lunch with Deana & Riley, and a little SEC basketball.

It will be a full day but I really wouldn’t know what to do if it wasn’t. I don’t handle free or down time very well. I get restless. The spiritual discipline of being still is one I should practice and improve. “Be still and know that I am God.” Guess I can’t really know God unless I am still everyone once in a while!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Why be part of PBA

One of our leaders told me tonight that it seemed to him that Pulaski Baptist Association had just sorta gone away. He is not aware of PBA's ministries. There is a communication gap and I'm part of the problem. So i wanted to take this post to improve the communications to our church regarding the association.


Pulaski Baptist Association is a group of 60+ churches in central Arkansas who cooperate in phenomenal ways to accomplish significant ministry. PBA assists churches seeking pastors and pastors seeking churches. They scholarship pastors seeking a seminary education. They support church mission trips.


Cross Road Baptist Church (me, specifically) has received back from PBA much of what we contribute financially. PBA is especially good as equipping pastors to be better pastors for their churches. CRBC benefits (hopefully) in this way.


PBA facilitates mission opportunities for our churches. CRBC has made two mission trips to New Orleans to help refurbish homes after Katrina. PBA and its churches take numerous trips deep into Mexico where over 1,000 people have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord over the last four years. Opportunities for churches to partner with churches in St. Louis began last year. You may remember that CRBC tried to put a trip together but failed to garner enough volunteers.


PBA provides a website that anyone can use to share the gospel.  Check out and give it a try. Another site that will impact children evangelism is in creation at this point and could be available later this year. PBA isn't doing business as usual but is taking advantage of technology to reach lost people.


PBA has purchased two 15-passenger vans that are available to churches for use on missions trips, VBS transports, etc. Churches like CRBC cannot afford a new van but we have these available when needed. We used one of the vans for our trip to New Orleans in 2008.


PBA hosts a ministers lunch one the second Wednesday of each month. Most weeks also include a Brunch Bunch meeting for pastors of small or single-staff church (like me) that has proven to be the most important aspect of our association with PBA because I am no longer isolated at the corner of Colonel Glenn and Congo Ferndale Roads. I have developed deep friendships with many pastors who encourage me in my ministry. I hope I can do the same for them.


We have joined with Faulkner Baptist Association in recent months for a pastors retreat and a preaching conference. Pastors from our associations had the chance to preach and share testimonies to equip and encourage one another. I leave in the morning to go with many of these pastors to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for their Expository Preaching Conference. I hope to be a better preacher from what I gain from this event. PBA is paying for all transportation and lodging at the event.


I could go on and on about the value of being part of Pulaski Baptist Association but I'll save some for later. I pledge to CRBC and to PBA to be a better champion of the association.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Too Full

My laptop is over three years old. That’s ancient for a computer. The speed is not so bad but the hard drive is too full.

I’m a packrat when it comes to electronic files. Hey, you never know when you’ll need it! So I have files saved on there that I’ll never open again.

And I have gobs of programs that I don’t use. I bought a logo design program when I started at Cross Road. I developed a few logos then found out I could do the same thing with Microsoft PowerPoint and Publisher. I also have a home design program that’s probably 10 years old. I installed it when the church began the new building so I could produce floor plans. I should probably remove it but I just keep thinking I’ll need to do something with it just any day.

You can see why my laptop is too full. It has 70 gb of storage – that was a lot three years ago. But it’s so full I can’t do a defrag – must have 15% free space and I’m at less than 10%. I bought a 500 gb external storage thingy and have been moving stuff to it for a  couple of months but haven’t created much free space so today I removed my Bible study program (it’s big) and reinstalled it to the external drive.

Now I have some breathing room.

Makes me wonder if my life is full of stuff I don’t need or never use. Is there any useless stuff cluttering up my life? Probably so. The truth is that all the unnecessary stuff is taking up space where good stuff could be.

Maybe it’s time to simplify – streamline – focus.

Monday, March 01, 2010


I headed out this morning to go to the bank, get a prescription refilled, and visit a friend in the hospital. Well, I made it to the bank, forgot to take the prescription, and the friend has been discharged from the hospital. This trip illustrates many things. First, sometimes things go as planned. At the bank I was able to make the deposit and pick up more deposit slips. That was a good stop.

But the second thing about the trip bothers me. I am forgetful. I don’t remember when this affliction first beset me. Because of this, I’ll have to make another trip to town today because I am completely out of the medication and I’m supposed to take it daily. Way to go, Bob! What do you think are the chances I’ll actually remember?

Third, our plans sometimes blow up because something good (or better) happens. Getting discharged from the hospital was a good thing for my friend. Had my plans worked perfectly, he would still be there.

I guess this is why the Bible says we aren’t to rely too much on our own plans. Instead, we are to always be looking for God’s activity and align out plans with this. Much better than having 1/3 of your own plans actually come to pass.