Tuesday, June 26, 2012


"Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved." The Apostle Peter quoted the Prophet Joel. So did Paul. This is a truth for all people everywhere.

Today four children in 3rd and 4th grades called upon the name of the Lord for their salvation. I'm always cautious talking with children about salvation because I don't want to guide them where they are not deciding to go. I've had too many adults say they prayed a prayer in Bible School or summer camp or revival services only to realize later they never called on his name for salvation.

What an injustice the church does to a person when they lead them to believe they are saved - right with God, OK for eternity - when actually they are still lost in their sin and in need of salvation! They think they are saved because of a recited prayer or a mindless decision. And they never really get serious about coming to Christ because they think they already have.

No doubt, the rolls of Cross Road Baptist Church - and of your church, too - contain at least a few who would fall into this category. Maybe there are many. Take a look around next time your church gathers for worship. Who is not there? Who is regularly not there? Who has dropped out and been missing for years? Whose life seems to be a series of bad choices? Who lives in disregard for God's word? Who lives without a sense of guilt or conviction?

There's really no way to know for sure if a person is saved or not, but Jesus said that a tree is known by the fruit it bears. Salvation is a total makeover of the person. If the "change" lasts only until his hair dries after coming out of the baptistry, then there's probably no real change at all. If a person can turn on and off his "Christianity" as he pleases, then there's probably no real turnaround in his life.

The truth from Scripture is that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. That decision cannot be made lightly. But made rightly, it's a life-changing decision.

I witnessed four children make that decision today. I believe they did it right. Now it's our responsibility (or the church's where they normally attend) to help them grow into faithful followers of Christ.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekly Devotional - June 22, 2012

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who
does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 7:21 NIV

I'm a chemical engineer. Do you believe that? You shouldn't because it's not true. Just because I say I'm something doesn't make me that thing.

If I claimed to be a tree you would laugh at me and probably discount everything else I say. Why? Because I don't look like or act like a tree. I'm obviously a human being.

How can you tell I'm not a chemical engineer? I might claim to be one so how can you know for sure? The best way to tell if I'm a chemical engineer is to test me to see if I am doing the job. Listen carefully, I didn't say to test me to see if I can do the job. A person might know a lot about the subject but still not be doing the job.

How can you tell if a person is a follower of Jesus Christ? Is that even possible? Ultimately, you and I cannot know the heart of another person with absolute certainty. But their actions do portray the heart and sometimes betray the lips.

Let's say a person claims to be a Christian but their actions don't testify to it. Should you believe them and not be concerned about their salvation? Maybe we should take the position of our friends from Missouri and say to that person, "Show me!" God can see the heart, we can only see their actions.

A person doesn't become a Christian because of their lifestyle or actions; but they do demonstrate their faith in this way. Paul wrote in Ephesians that we are save by grace through faith exclusive of works. He continued by saying we are saved to do good works that God had planned for us along ago (Eph 2:8-10).

Pray that God will help you match your testimony of words with a testimony of actions so others will know you belong to him.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

After the Fall

Can you imagine what life must have been like for Adam and Eve? They lived in the Garden of Eden - a perfect place. They lived with no sin - a perfect existence. They had everything they needed and communed with God regularly.

Requirements for living in the garden were quite simple: don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Visualize the garden. It was as lush a garden as ever planted. Every plant grew and produced fruits and vegetables. Adam and Eve lacked nothing when dinner-time came.

Why are our eyes always drawn to what we should not look at? Sitting in a restaurant, the wife tells her husband about someone across the room and says, "But don't look!" What does he do? He turns and gawks. He probably points and says, "You mean him?"

The Lord has given us plenty of room to travel on this Christian road. Jesus says the gate is small and the road is narrow - in comparison to the broad road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). Paul says we have great freedom within the Christian faith (Galatians 5). The problem is not the width of the path nor is it the lack of freedom. The problem is our innate desire to live along the edges, to gaze at the forbidden.

Just a couple of weeks after we started walking back in January, I had an accident. You need the back story. In January 2000 I fell on the slopes at Crested Butte and sustained a tibial plateau fracture. In other words, I broke my left leg just below the knee. Now, twelve years later, I still have a weak left leg and I don't trust my knee to hold up under much stress. Walking across uneven ground or not paying attention to the steps in front of me can get the best of me.

So we are walking before sunrise and a car comes up behind us. We move to the right edge of the road. I moved a little too far to the right and stepped on the edge of the asphalt - but with my right foot! My right ankle buckled and my left leg didn't hold me up. I fell, rolled like a good high school football player doing drills, and hopped up sorta quickly. Then I hobbled to the finish line. In a couple of days I was all better.

I fell because I got to close to the edge. Now I move to the edge of the road when a car comes toward us but I make sure I leave a little space between me and the edge of the pavement.

Living on the edge is dangerous. I'm all for pushing known boundaries to discover new and better ways of doing something. The technology I'm using to write this post exists because somebody pushed the limits. But we must be careful not to live on the edge of what God says is right. The divide between right and wrong may be hard to discern. You may misstep and wind up in the ditch.

Life after the Fall was different for Adam and Eve. Life after the fall in Crested Butte has been different for me. Let's guard ourselves - even when taking chances - to make sure we are safely within God's guidelines for living.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Southern Baptists Are Great Commission Baptists

The Southern Baptist Convention convenes annually for two days in June. The meeting is going on now in New Orleans. Messengers from Southern Baptist churches gather to conduct convention business, hear reports from Southern Baptist entities and agencies, and elect officers for the upcoming year. It's a Baptist business meeting on steroids!

The action taken by messengers that will get the most press is the election of Fred Luter as president of the convention. Luter is a pastor in New Orleans. He has built Franklin Avenue Baptist Church twice: once before Katrina and again after the storm. He's a passionate preacher. He's an evangelist.

He's African-American. That's what causes the great interest of the press. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 by churches in the south in part because the previous organization would not fully include them in missions and ministry because of their stance on slavery. Electing a black man to lead the SBC is newsworthy. Maybe in a few years it won't be. This is a breakthrough for Southern Baptists that's been a long time coming.

The most divisive issue addressed by the convention messengers dealt with a recommendation from the Executive Committee calling for a non-binding, non-legal descriptor. A tagline that Southern Baptist churches may use to further identify them or to be used instead of "Southern Baptist." Those in favor of the descriptor claim that the convention no longer is only "southern" but exists and ministers in all 50 states. They say in northern and western areas of the country, the descriptor will help them reach people without the distraction of having to explain the name.

Those opposed to the descriptor say that the name has served us well and that we would be leaving our heritage behind. One messenger who spoke against the motion on the convention floor said this would be the second step to dismantling the SBC. Not sure what he thinks the first step was unless it was the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Recommendation adopted two years ago at the convention in Orlando.

Outgoing President Bryant Wright pressed the issue a few months ago by calling for a task force to study the possibility of changing the name of the convention. The task force recommended to the Executive Committee that the convention not change its name due to several issues. The name recognition garnered by the SBC over the years is invaluable. The legal mess created by a name change would be long and costly. The cost to every church and entity associated with the SBC would be great as they had to update signs, printed material, and electronic sites; and to rebrand themselves in their communities.

The recommendation did include approving the descriptor "Great Commission Baptists" for use as churches and entities should desire. So a church can call itself whatever it would like. By the way, that's no change from before. My church can do nothing and that would be completely supported by the convention's action. A church might want to take the name "Cross Road Church" and add the descriptor "We Are Great Commission Baptists" and that would also be completely supported by the convention's action.

The convention voted to approve the recommendation by a vote of 53% to 46%. I'm for it and I will encourage our church to adopt the descriptor in some fashion. Yes, we are in the south and we are in the Bible belt. But what better way is there to remind us of our mission than to keep the descriptor in our eyes?

We are Cross Road Baptist Church - Southern Baptists and Great Commission Baptists.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Man

Jesus gave up so much to come to earth as a man. Jesus endured so much to take man's punishment for sin. The God of heaven walked the dusty roads of Judea and Galilee. The creator of the universe entered creation so much like a created being that a debate has raged for two millennia about the nature of his being. The glorious King of king and Lord of lords was rejected by those he came to seek and save. He was was tortured and crucified.

Jesus did it all for you and me.

He is the man. When we use that phrase we think about a stud who can take anything and still accomplish the task. I'm not sure what Jesus looked like. Don't know if he was large or small, buff or not. I do know that he took everything and never quit. He never gave up. He had a mission to do and he endured everything to do it.

My running buddy passed out and fell on the church parking lot Saturday before we got started on our run. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. He came home Sunday afternoon with the outlook of more doctor visits this week. I called him Monday night to check on him and let him know that he could skip the Tuesday morning run. He would hear nothing of it. He showed up a few minutes before 5:00 A.M. like he always does. He joked around like he always does. He took off like he always does. He left me in his tracks like he always does. He wasn't going to let a little thing like a knot on his head make him quit. I'm even more impressed with him. He's the man!

On a much grander scale, Jesus let nothing deter him from his purpose. He came to seek and save the lost. Crucifixion was part of the plan. He did it. For you. For me.

Jesus is the man.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Unexpected Morning

I'm used to getting up at 4:30 on Saturday mornings to go walking/running with our fitness group at CRBC. Today was no different except that all the ladies had already checked out leaving just Forrest and me. So the alarm went off at 4:30, I got up and washed my face, then headed to the church to meet Forrest.

That's when the expected things stopped. Forrest got there just a minute or two before the 5:00 start time. As soon as he stepped out of his vehicle he said, "This is going to be hard."

Forrest has thyroid problems and is on meds for that. The big impact is that he runs out of energy in the early afternoon of workdays. He's not been feeling well lately and today started out rough. After a minute of talking with him I realized (he did, too) that we weren't heading down Rushing Road this morning.

Instead, Forrest blacked out and hit the ground. I rushed to him, found him unconscious, and called 911. And I called his wife. And I called upon the Lord.

I must say that the West Pulaski Fire Department responded quickly. It seemed like a long time as I knelt beside Forrest but it was only a few minutes. The three men responding and the EMTs from the ambulance service went to work getting Forrest stabilized and headed to the hospital.

Don't yet know exactly what happened. He'll spend the weekend in the hospital and let the doctors poke and prod on him.

Since we started walking in January, I've grown to love and respect Forrest even more. Today held an unexpected turn. I'm relieved that Forrest is getting back to normal - expect for the bumps and bruises. The staff at Baptist Hospital ought to have a fun time this weekend.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Weekly Devotional - June 15, 2012

"But Jesus immediately said to them:
'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.'"
Matthew 14:27 NIV
The kids at Cross Road Baptist Church participated in the Pulaski Baptist Association's Day Camp this week. One of the stops we made was at the Museum of Discovery in downtown Little Rock. The kids had fun and learned some pretty cool stuff.
One thing they learned was about the power of pulleys. The experiment had three stations: one with one pulley, another with two pulleys, and a third with three pulleys. The child sat in a seat and pulled on a rope connected through the pulley or pulleys and to the seat. As you may know, lifting your body weight gets easier with more pulleys. It took a while for them to figure it out!
The museum also had an exhibit describing the events of a tornado outbreak in January 1999. We sat in a room that looked like your grandpa's storm cellar. A young Ed Buckner alerted and reported about the tornados. Sound and lighting effects made it seem real. A sign at the entry warned that some children might be frightened at the realistic demonstration.
Have you ever been frightened by a storm? I can remember a time when a powerful storm came near the church where I was pastor. We were gathered for our mid-week Bible study. When the winds picked up and the rain came down hard, we moved to a central hallway and huddled close together.
We prayed and asked the Lord for safety and protection. Almost immediately, the storm was past. We celebrated and thanked the Lord for hearing our prayers. Then we looked outside and found that a gust of wind had lifted the roof above the front porch off the posts that supported it. The bases of the posts were moved about a foot. We thanked God again!
Storms can come in nature or in many other ways. Relations, jobs, finances, or school can go crazy. Pray that God will give you the calm you need today.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 11

We have completed our week in Wasilla and are on our way home. The men did an impressive job bringing the building from a bare slab to almost completely framed in five days. No accidents or injuries!

Even more impressive is the vision Fairview Loop Baptist Church has for Wasilla. They are hard-working believers who want to reach their community for Christ. If the commitment they have made to host the volunteers this summer is indicative of their commitment to loving people and sharing Christ's love, they will point many people toward faith in Christ.

The pastor and leadership of the church is to be commended. Cross Road will pray for these partners in ministry. I prefer to look at this trip as a partnership. We have shared our resources and abilities with them so that they can share theirs with others.

Through partnerships, Cross Road's ministry extends beyond Fairview Loop and beyond this week. We do the same with the Church at Argenta and in Talitsa, Russia.

Partnerships allow our church to help another that will help another and so on. We aren't the origin of the help but are in the middle of a chain. Believers help us at our point of need so we can extend help to others.

I will be happy to be home in a few hours but I'm glad to have spent the last ten days sharing in this task.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ed Meux

If you read this blog or connect with me in social media you know Ed Meux and the struggle he's had for the last six months.

Ed broke his hip on December 8, 2011. His first day back home was Tuesday. The doctor said that Ed's condition would not improve after months of infection and ensuing problems. Ed chose to go home rather than to a nursing home.

Ed went home to be with the Lord on June 8, 2012. His healing that we've all prayed for is now complete. But we are left to heal even amid the celebration for Ed.

I met Ed on Sunday, November 5, 2006 when I preached in view of a call at Cross Road Baptist Church. After the noon meal and Q&A period, Ed came to me privately and asked if I had an issue with a divorced man serving as a deacon. We talked about his situation and the biblical teachings. I told him I had no problem with him serving as a deacon.

Ed looked me in the eye and said, "OK, Bro. Bob, I'll support you and go anywhere and do anything you want."

Ed kept his word.

I learned of Ed's death while I'm away on a mission trip in Alaska. I am confident Ed would be here, too, had the last six months been different.

Ed spent more time in direct contact with me than any other church member other than Deana and Riley. He stopped by the office for coffee, to talk about the new building, to share news of health issues, to pray about his family, and to show his support for me. We talked on the phone often. We shared meals. We joined his family at the lake.

He loves the Lord, his family, and our church. Uniting them all is John 3:16. Ed said that there is enough Gospel in that verse to save the world if we will tell it and they will believe it. He's right about that.

Ed is with the Lord in eternity. I know he left this world concerned that his family prepare to meet the Lord and that his church grow and be healthy. That pretty well sums up over five years of conversations Ed and I shared.

Pray for Shirley, their children, and extended family. Pray for our church, too.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 9

Today has been one of the most amazing days here. Breakfast is served at 7:00 A.M. each day and before most of the men even made it through the line the boss was asking for volunteers (from the truss team) to come on out and get started. The crane was here and since it is rented by the hour, they needed to get to work.

I know very little about construction but have learned from listening to several conversations that setting the first truss would take an hour or so but the rest of them would take less than ten minutes each. The first one took about an hour.

Then a few of us who are not on the truss team took off for the mountains. We drove toward Matanuska Glacier northwest of Wasilla. The mountains jumped into the sky with snow capping most of them. Between the road and the mountains was a stream at times and a raging river at other times. Tributaries poured into it along the way. The water was a muddy as Riley's pants after digging out rocks in the ball field earlier this week. Most of the time, the river was meandering in narrow "braids" on a wide bed of rock and silt. It wasn't very attractive like this but when it was rolling it was awesome.

We saw a couple of rafts on the river. As we got our cameras ready they disappeared along the bank behind a row of trees. That was their pick-up point. We missed a good opportunity to photograph some wild whitewater rafting.

The Matanuska Glacier is long and flat. Imagine a frozen river winding through the mountains. I've always envisioned glaciers as tall blocks of ice with jagged edges that break off and fall into the sea. We haven't seen one like that. Glaciers take different forms and the one's we've seen are powerful. We hiked a one-mile trail that led to different vantage points for viewing the glacier, the river, and the mountains. I counted that as my Thursday workout.

Scott Dettmer, Bob Garrett, Riley, and I had lunch at the Grand View Cafe. It was in an RV park and the view was indeed grand. After lunch we headed back to Wasilla. The Grand View Cafe was about 75 miles from the church and we had spent about three hours getting there. We were ready to get home so the return drive took about an hour and a half.

Remember the truss team? When we left they had finished the first truss and had a couple others in place. When we returned they had about three-fourths of them in place. That's an impressive amount of work for just a few hours. They still have a few hours to go and I'm praying for their safety as this long day wears on. These guys were hand-picked and their ability and stamina are impressive. John Miller, Forrest Grimmett, and Terry McCallister are part of the truss team.

I've said this several times but I will repeat it: I'm proud of the men from Cross Road who are serving at Fairview Loop in Alaska. They have all (Riley included) contributed to a wonder week. We are the first crew of volunteers. I think we have given the project a good start.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 8

The construction is going along quickly and smoothly. Today was fairly light as we are waiting on trusses - which came this afternoon. A crane is coming tomorrow. The plan is to have the trusses in place by the end of the day tomorrow.

The big project today was to place huge beams for a drive-thru entry at the front of the building. It almost got to the point that we had too many bosses. The crew that had been working (and working well together) all morning, drew a crowd in the afternoon. The crowd included some folks that had a little input - even though the project was in good hands. Anyway, the crowd dispersed and the beams are now in place.

Forrest, Riley, and I went into Anchorage for a quick visit to the Alaska Museum of Natural History. That was a good trip and a needed break from the work. We were gone for about two and a half hours and made it back just in time for lunch.

Have I told you about the meals? We get a full, hot breakfast every day. We had four choices of soups and two choices of sandwiches for lunch today. I expect a really good supper tonight, based on the last few days. The church has mobilized dozens of volunteers to take care of us this week. And when we leave another group will arrive for next week's work. That continues throughout the summer. The church has been an excellent host.

And have I told you about the desserts? Very nice!

Once again, CRBC was well represented in today's work. And they represented the Lord even better.

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 7

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a good day. The progress this group is making is unbelievable, especially for someone who has very little knowledge of construction. I just stand back and look at the building rising from the slab and I'm very impressed.

I learned yesterday that the total number in the group is fifty-five. That's about ten more than I first thought. Getting that many men - many of whom know or think they know a lot about construction - all moving in the right direction is an amazing accomplishment. Fairview Loop Baptist Church has one man, Wes, who is in charge of the project. Our group has three "white hats" or crew leaders that serve as next-level managers. Most of the fifty-five work under these three men. A few of us are doing special projects like painting or picnic table building.

When I needed a break from painting I strolled over to the slab to watch. Just like on Monday, I saw the Cross Road guys working. With a crowd that big, a lot of guys are standing around a lot of the time. Our guys were working. Happy to see that and not at all surprised!

God is really at work in the midst of all this. We've had no lost time accidents. The pace of work is phenomenal. Men are getting to know one another. Christian music is playing on the site. Most egos are checked at the door.

My hometown newspaper would have written, "A good time was had by all."

Monday, June 04, 2012

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 6

Today was the first day of construction on the trip. Our group got involved in several ways. I'm proud to be their pastor.

Scott Dettmer, Forrest Grimmett, Bob Garrett, and Jon Miller spent the day framing the new worship center.Each time I passed by the site, they were all doing something. That wasn't true for all the men standing on the slab, but our guys got busy and stayed busy.

Terry McCallister joined with a few others to build picnic tables for the church. They duplicated a table the church already had. Looked like some specialty work and they did a great job. When I saw Terry working the saw (the main construction site had two designated to run the saws) I knew he was on a special project. They picked the right guy for that kind of work. I've never seen Terry tackle a project and not get it done with quality.

Riley and I partnered with two other pastors and three other boys for a couple of projects since anyone under 18 years of age is not allowed on the construction site due to insurance regulations. Our first task was to clear rocks from the proposed softball field. That started out easy enough but then we unearthed a huge rock. It was large and heavy. We spent an hour getting it out of the ground! That wrapped up the morning then we found another huge rock just after lunch. Our morning experience helped us get this one out of the ground in about 20 minutes. We stopped picking up rocks after that.

Another project the boys could do with our help was dig a trench for an electrical line. The church has a pavilion behind the kitchen and fellowship hall. They want lights and an outlet in it so we dug the trench, laid out the wire, and covered it up. It looked good. The boys learned how to work hard and use some new tools. I hope they are not as sore as I am!

At the end of the day, most of the exterior walls are up, one picnic table is complete and the pieces are cut for three more, the ball field is free of a few hundred rocks, and the electrical line is in place for the pavilion. The team from CRBC was a big part of all that. The entire team from Pulaski Baptist Association did a good job. Fairview Loop Baptist Church was an incredible host, once again.

I'm sitting in the dining room now. Three tables are full of guys playing cards and dominos. Several are just sitting around talking. Some of the guys have already gone to sleep (It's 8:30 here, 11:30 P.M. at home). Another great day awaits us. To God be the glory!

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 5

Hospitality - the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. (So says the google search.)

Perhaps the definition should be updated to include a picture of Fairview Loop Baptist Church in Wasilla, Alaska.

This afternoon the church gathered for a picnic and warmly welcomed 40+ guests from Arkansas. Actually, they don't consider us guests because (as the pastor said this morning in the service) we've slept under their roof for at least two days. We belong and they made us feel like it.

This is Alaska so the menu included moose burgers and king salmon along with other dishes both familiar and new. It was a potluck that could have been birthed in the South. I felt right at home.

They have fed us. They have welcomed us into worship. They have given up Sunday School space so we can use the rooms as a campground. They will feed us three meals each day as we work on their new building. They appreciate what we are doing and they express it through service. Through hospitality.

Does your church express appreciation in tangible ways? Is your church hospitable to both friend and stranger? Do your guests feel welcome or watched?

A church near 62 degrees latitude is a great example of hospitality. May those near 35 degrees be as warm.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 4

I'm on the clock.

These other guys have taken vacation time.

I'm so glad to be part of a church that has this kind of commitment to sharing God's love through missions and ministry.

A mission trip is not a cheap event. It costs team members time off work; time away from the family; and the cost of travel, food, and supplies. That's a commitment from them and their families.

And it's life-changing. I've never taken a group on a trip when at least one person has not said, "This has changed my life." Missions is life-changing.

I'm hoping - confidently expecting - that these men will say the same thing. And when a man is changed, his family is changed. And his church is changed.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Alaska Mission Trip - Post 3

What a day we had yesterday! We took a road trip to Prince William Sound. Logged over 400 miles. Away for about 14 hours.

The trip down the Kenai Peninsula took us along Cook Inlet, through the mountains, along the sound, through a 2.5 miles one-lane tunnel. We saw mountains and rivers. Eagles and a moose. Glaciers and a cruise ship. The snow-capped mountains soaked up the sun and gave up a lot of water as the snow slowly melted.

We spent 9 hours in three airplanes to get to Alaska - the land of salmon and reindeer. Not real keen on reindeer but am looking forward to salmon or halibut or some kind of seafood. Our first meal was Mexican. It was good, real good. Just not salmon. We ate lunch in Seward. Chinese buffet. OK but not salmon. So last night, in desperation, I ordered salmon from Country Kitchen. It was good but not stamped with the Alaskan imprint I expected. I guess I panicked.

There'll be more chances, I'm sure. And I take them!

Today's a new day. New adventures. Same God.

That's the same for you. No matter what you face, God's been there. He's not surprised at what comes your way. He won't hit the panic button even if you do.

Let's have a great day!