Friday, July 29, 2011

Time of My Life

This has been an exciting week for me. I am a Cincinnati Reds fan and have been since the early '70s. That's when I was in elementary school and just starting to love baseball. No longer in grade school but still loving baseball.

The genesis of my love for baseball coincides with the glory days of the Big Red Machine. Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo, and Ken Griffey are names I'll never forget. Back then we only had one game a week on television. NBC aired the MLB Game of the Week and I hardly ever missed one. Since the Reds were doing pretty good, they would be on a lot. That's why they are my favorite team. Just like kids in the '80s and '90s took to the Cubs and Braves - they were on cable TV so they saw them a lot.

Even though Arkansas is traditionally a St. Louis Cardinals territory and our local AA minor league team was affiliated with them at the time, the Reds became "My Team" and have been for almost forty years. Oddly enough, the only Reds game I've ever seen in person was in St. Louis.

So the excitement comes from being in Cincinnati this week for two games. Yesterday, we saw the Mets and Reds play a wild game that saw the Reds on the short end of a 10-9 score. Both teams had innings in which they scored four runs. Both teams scored in the 9th inning. For a baseball fan that was a great game. Not so much if you are a Reds fan. I'm both so I walked away feeling pretty good.

Tonight's game is against the 2010 World Series Champions - the San Francisco Giants. We will be at Great American Ball Park by 11:30 for a stadium tour. Then we'll spend a few hours in the Reds Hall of Fame Museum. After that we get to go back into the stadium for batting practice and hopefully get a few autographs. Then the game starts at 7:10 with fireworks after the game. Maybe we'll get back to our hotel by midnight!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

World Changers

The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention started a program several years ago that plugs youth into missions ministry. The program is called World Changers. It's been around awhile but I've only been involved for the last five summers. And my involvement is as part of the support team for the church groups that come to Little Rock to work.

The work they do consists of light home remodeling like roofing and painting. Churches bring groups from all across the US to the different cities involved in the program. This year there are 210 World Changers in Little Rock. The group we are supporting consists of ten youth and adults from Dodge City, Kansas and Katy and College Station, Texas. They are painting the exterior of a house in an impoverished part of our city - free of charge to the home owners. The city of Little Rock and NAMB pick up the tab.

CRBC is responsible for feeding our 10 World Changers each day this week. We'll take them pizza, hot dogs, fried chicken, and PBJ sandwiches. We load them down with Gatorade and Powerade. And we express our appreciation to them for serving the Lord in our city. The Sunday Morning Bible Study classes each take a day (or two classes will team up) to provide and deliver the meals.

We are impacting eternity in at least three ways. First, we are helping the work crew make a difference in the home owner's life. The home owners are not necessarily Christians so the opportunity to share the gospel with them is high. And if they are Christians, well we can all use encouragement! What a great way to encourage someone - come alongside them and ministry to them in a tangible way.

Second, CRBC impacts eternity by serving the work crew. The youth and adults are Christians who see the need to put their abilities in the hands of God. God is using us to provide for them this week. Hopefully, they will see godly people gladly involved in ministry toward them.

Third, we feel the impact of being involved in eternally significant ministry. Every church has people who want to get involved but just don't know how. Some of our folks are paying for the meals. Some of us are delivering the meals. Some of us are praying for the entire World Changers project in Little Rock. Whenever someone applies himself to the task of serving others God will touch their own lives.

I'm glad to be involved with CRBC and World Changers. And we aren't the only church in Little Rock that's involved. Hundreds of volunteers are on the ground this week involved in ministry. To God be the glory!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Reflecting on Camp

I spent the week at camp with nine kids from our church (and one other adult). We had a great time and many of our students came home with some sense of how to live the way Jesus wants us to. And maybe they also have the desire to do it! CRBC had not been to a summer camp like this in so many years that the idea of "camp" wasn't on the radar for any of the students or their families. I'm hoping to change that so that camp is something they always do, look forward to doing, and plan to do.

Last year was the first time to go to camp in almost 15 years. We took five students last year, nine this year. Maybe we are on our way to that new mindset.

As I reflect on the week at camp, I think about the overall message we heard: Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. He is the way to salvation. He is the guide/pattern for the way we live. All the students we took to camp are Christians so the emphasis on salvation helped them in the area of assurance, which is extremely important. Once they are secure in their salvation, they can begin to live the Christian life that leads to ministry and blessing and fulfillment. The camp's theme helped our kids in both areas.

The new camp director is implementing a few changes. These changes are good and I'm sure I'll get use to them. This is not a complaint but a confession that I don't do well with changes unless I'm the one making the changes! Since I'm not the one in charge, I need to get on board with the ones who are. I can do that. I think.

Overall, the location is good, the travel is good, the cost is good, the programming is good, the emphasis is good. I'm looking forward to next year. The theme is "Superheroes." Wonder which one I should be.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Heading to Siloam

We are headed to Siloam Springs for camp next week. I'm pretty excited about that. We took 5 kids last year; we are taking 9 this year. I've been working to create an atmosphere at CRBC where camp is something we always do and always look forward to. I hope to get kids and parents thinking that camp is "normal." It's been a while since CRBC went to a camp like this. Actually, until last year, none of our students had ever been to a camp like Siloam. But we are making progress implementing a new culture.

Siloam is a place where Christian students learn about genuine worship. Worship is not a time or place or activity. Worship is a movement of the heart expressing praise and thanksgiving to God. Worship is not something to avoid by slipping out to the bathroom or doodling in the bulletin. Worship is giving total attention to God. Siloam fosters worship.

Siloam is a place for discipleship. Students have a lot of things pulling for their attention. They can follow cultural trends in music, TV, movies, etc. and wind up far away from God. Or they can focus on God's Word and mature toward Christ-likeness. The messages and Bible studies at Siloam lead in that direction.

Siloam is a place for fun. You just gotta be there!

Siloam is a place where people answer God's call in their lives. Some are coming to Jesus for salvation. Some are coming to give their lives to vocational ministry. Some are coming back to Jesus after following the world. Siloam is a place where people are drawn to Jesus.

Other camps can do the same things, I just like Siloam! So we leave Tuesday morning for a few days of camp. Hopefully, we'll all come back changed.