Monthly Archives: March 2007

Our Goals and Purposes

Tonight we gathered with our college age and young adults.  We had a meal together and then I asked them a question that was prompted by a book that Ellen and I are reading together.  The book is titled, Simple Church.  It discusses the concept that church should be simple and that people in any given congregation ought to be on the same page when it comes to purpose and intention of the church.  The authors make the argument that when people are pursuing the same goals and purposes, great things happen in the family of God.

So tonight I asked our group to write on an index card the purpose and focus of Creekside.  I was both pleased and excited that nearly everyone in the room  gave answers to the question.  They were in agreement and that was exciting. 

The authors of “Simple  Church” make the argument that the more simple a church family makes its goals and aspirations, the more likely that people will get on board and work toward those goals.

I want to challenge you to do this with your Bible class or even during the general assembly and listen to the answers they give.  The answers they give will allow you a great deal of wisdom an insight as to the directions that your church family is heading and where they should go. 

What about you?  What is the soul purpose of your church families?


What a Come-Back!!

We played Florence High School tonight.  They beat us in a double-header last week at their place really badly.  Today was a chance to redeem ourselves. 

It was not a good start.  In the first inning they put up 2 runs.  The next inning 5.  It got worse.  In the top of the third inning, they went up on us 10-0, OUCH!!  We just wanted the game to end.  Our ace picture was running out of gas, we made a couple of errors inthe field and nothing was going our way.

The fourth saw things turn around a bit.  In the bottom half, we put up a three spot with a bases clearing double.  At the end of the fourth iniing, the score was 12-3.  We didn’t know it, but we had them right where we wanted them.

The bottom of the fifth we did not score, so that left us down 12-3 with six outs left. We scored 5 in the sixth inning and 6 in the seventh to win it. It was truly awesome.
Brandon reached first 3 of his four at bats. He walked twice and got on on an error by the short stop. He scored all three times. His highlight of the day was a diving catch at third and from his knees got the force out at second base. It really was a remakable day!

Crazy Week

I know it’s been a week and a day since my last blog.  I’m really slipping I know, but it’s been one busy week.  Some good some bad.  In no certain order here goes a recap.

We have been nursing Danielle for the last three days with a severe stomach virus.  That is really all the details you need on that.  Thanks be to God that she has not had any seizures to this point with it.  She has been doing much better with them in the past few weeks.

Brandon had a week that has shown much improvement in his hitting.  Night before last he went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI.  He reached base a third time on a hard it ball to the second baseman who just couldn’t handle it.  And the really good news is that he has not struck out in his last four games.  The hitting lessons last week payed off big time.

Tabitha was falsely accused of something by a teacher at college.  She was accused of plagiarism.  She has a conference with the teacher tomorrow so please pray for her.  This is a new thing for her having to go before a teacher to confront her with a mistake.  It is a huge growth step for her so pray that it goes well.

I have been getting a few borderline blood pressure readings lately too.  Please pray that I can have the will power to try and control this without medication by a better diet and exercise.  Tonight did not help.  It was brake pad changing time for my car.  What a pain!!  It is usually not that hard, but tonight was not one of those times. 

Last Sunday was a good day at Creekside.  Most Sundays are.  It is a truly wonderful group of Christians.  I thank God for bringing my family to Creekside.

Well, this is not comprehensive, but it will give you some idea of our crazy week.

Christian Passions: Family Faith

The last of the seven passions that George Barna lists in his book Revolution is “Family Faith.”  Family faith is described by Barna in the following way: “Christian families taught the ways of God in their homes every day. Parents were expected to model a Spirit-led lifestyle for their children, and families were to make their home a sanctuary for God. In a very real sense, the home was the early Church–supplemented by the larger gatherings in the Temple and in other places, but never replaced by what took place in the homes of believers.”

I know it stretches the context of the following passage to use it here, hut I think there is a principle in play that certainly applies to this discussion. Paul tells Timothy, (1 Timothy 5:8 NCV) “Whoever does not care for his own relatives, especially his own family members, has turned against the faith and is worse than someone who does not believe in God.” God wants us to take care of our families. In the church family children are an intricate part of that atmosphere and ought to be helped along as much as possible. However, it’s not the church’s ultimate responsibility to be the primary source of child-rearing. That belongs to parents.

To be Spirit-led parents takes work for ourselves that I’m afraid we too often allow to go neglected. If we are not allowing God to lead our lives, how can we possibly help our kids be led by Him? We tend to make sure our children are doing their school work and that they make it to practice for whatever sporting event is going on. But how many of us are teaching them the ways of God both by teaching and action? Extracurricular things are good for kids, but God knows they need us spiritually much more than physically.

Strong families help build up everything around them. When families are strong, the community is strong. When families are strong, the nation is strong. When families are strong, the church family is strong.

I pray that we can all return to more passion for our families and helping them to become as spiritually minded as they can be.

Our Body’s A Temple?

When Jesus cleansed the temple He meant business.  He purged the evil from the house of God in order to return it to it’s proper use–a house of worship.  The scriptures tell us that our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit.”  When we abuse this temple with bad stuff, whether it be physical or spiritual, we are abusing the place that God says that He dwells on this earth.   That puts it in a whole new perspective for me.

I receive an email each day from Jordan Rubin.  You can subscribe to it here.  He is the author of The Maker’s Diet.  His life’s story is a testimony to God’s way of taking care of our bodies.  You can read about it at the above link.  His daily email gives helpful hints about being healthy in our eating, exercise, and spirit.  Most of them are good, but today’s was especially good.  I wanted to share it with you.

“Paul tells us: (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NCV) ‘You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, {20} because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies.’ Primary to optimal health is how we treat our physical body — what we eat, how much and how well we sleep, and how much stress we encounter. After all, it’s hard to focus on the spiritual when your body is crying out for help, whether due to disease, obesity, or lack of energy. What steps have you taken this week to treat your body as a sacred and important place?”

WOW!  That last question really hit me hard.  I’m afraid I haven’t been a very good steward.  Reading this (something I’ve known for a long time, but just haven’t done anything about it) has made me take a real look at myself.

We preach often against the abuse of a lot of things in our world–drugs, alcohol, sex, the media, are a few.  Many times I hear people joke about gluttony.  We say, “You’ve stopped preaching and gone to meddling now.”  I need someone to “meddle” with me about this. 

I have for several years owned a blood pressure cuff and use it quite often.  I have never had a high blood pressure reading until recently.  That has sent a warning sign to me that I need to get healthier.  Isn’t it sad that we wait until something appears to be wrong before we really take it seriously.  I ask your prayers for me as I try my best to live a more healthy lifestyle. 

I know that we are to long for heaven and I do, but one thing I would like to do is to be able to raise my kids and see my grandchildren one day and while doing so be able to be active in their lives.  I hope that’s not selfish nor wrong for me to want that.  One thing is for sure.  I realize that if I don’t start taking better care of myself, I will not live long enough to see that happen. 

Christian Passions: Spiritual Friendships

Within all communities friendships that are developed become the center of our lives. Friends “hang out” together and during life encounters learn how each other thinks, acts, feels, reacts, and on and on we could go.

In the first Christian church, spiritual friendships were a must. They met together daily for encouragement, teaching, worship, and friendships. Later as the persecution got tougher, there’s no doubt that those relationships grew to be even more meaningful and deeper as the Christians banded to do more than fellowship. Their very lives depended on one another. They had a common goal, a common message, and most of all, a common Savior.

What about our relationships today? Being a minster in a church I am surrounded by Christian friendships. My family are all Christians. I am sheltered to the “real world” in some ways.

Before working with churches, I worked in a factory and remember well the atmosphere of bad language, bad influence, and just in general, being surrounded by bad behavior. Not all places are that bad, and I’m certainly not making a blanket statement, it’s just that this place was pretty bad.

Nevertheless, many who are in the work force of our society struggle each day with fellowship issues. There is a need for more relationships that are spiritual in nature. Many never receive the encouragement to hang in there for God. They are condemned for their beliefs on a daily basis. They are made fun of for believing in spiritual things.

On top of the daily trials, church has, for some, become a place of socializing and not much depth spiritually speaking. The “Hi, how are you, fine” conversations are often shallow and nonspiritual. We talk more about things that are really spiritually insignificant to the detriment of our spiritual relationships.

What about you? Count the number of “real” friendships you have and ask yourself how you are doing at building the spiritual friendships as opposed to shallow or worldly influences. This is not a test to guilt ourselves or make us feel badly. It is a test that could help us develop more and more a deeper relationship here or there that has its foundation significance based in spiritual matters.

Waiting In Line!

You guys pray for Brandon.  He plays his first game tonight for the JV Baseball team.  He is a freshman and probably won’t get to play much, but I told him to just ride it out, see what happens, and wait his turn.  That’s the way things work at Muscle Shoals High School.  As they get older, they play more.  It’s a kind of waiting in line.

Life is kind of like that isn’t it.  It seems that we are always waiting in line.  We wait at the grocery store.  We wait in line to get our hair cut.  We wait to get an oil change.  We wait at the restaurant.  I told someone the other day that I was convinced that when we get to heaven, we will have to wait in line to get in.  Anytime I say that I immediately think that it really doesn’t matter so long as I’m in that line!

Some people have had some great suggestions for ways to occupy your mind in lines.  People pray, read, or just mess with other people.  What are some ways you cope with lines that might be helpful to the rest of us?