Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Fall of a Convention?

For those who are not familiar with the process, yearly every church in the Southern Baptist Convention will complete the Annual Church Profile. This ACP tracks for the convention the health of Baptist churches around the country.

The ACP report for 2008 was recently released. The report shows a decline in the number of baptisms and in total church membership. This is the second year the convention has declined in both of these categories.

There are two men who are sounding the trumpet for change in the convention. One is Ed Stetzer, who works for Lifeway Research. Ed has an interesting blog about this continuing decline.

The other is by my friend Dr. Chuck Kelley, President of New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Chuck recently preached in chapel about how the SBC has become the "new Methodists." The article about his message is very interesting. He explains that the decline of the Methodist convention occurred when they failed to continue to evangelize and disciple people. Chuck says the "SBC are the new Methodists" because we are in danger of following the decline of the Methodist denomination.

I will close by quoting Ed Stetzer again: "Are we hurting enough to make the changes we need?"

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Tribute

Today I joined several of our church members in a work day at the church. It was an opportunity to paint the trim on the new building the church recently purchased and perform some landscaping.

While several of our youth, parents and workers were painting, several others were busy doing some landscaping in front of the church. Having some flower beds to add some beauty to the front of the church has been a dream of many for several years.

One of those who had dreamed of some landscaping was my friend, Roger Taylor. Roger, I'm sure is looking down from heaven seeing his dream. Roger and I had joked several times about him coming in the middle of the night and pulling up the old shrubs that were in front of the church. One of Roger's dreams was to see some beautiful plants and flowers decorating the landscape of the church.

I couldn't help but think about Roger. He would have been working as hard or harder than anyone today. It is tribute to my friend to see the plants and flowers providing some beauty to the church.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I know I have shared the lyrics of several songs lately, but this one ministered to me today. I had heard the song before today and liked it, but today I heard more of the words. The song, "Always," is by Building 429. May it minister to you as it did me.


I was standing in the pouring rain one dark November night
Fighting off the bitter cold when she caught my eye
Her face was taught and her eyes were filled, and to my surprise
She pulled out a photograph and my heart just stopped inside
She said, "He would've been three today
I miss his smile, I miss his face"
What was I supposed to say, but

I believe always, always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and his promise remains
He will be with you always

He was living in a broken world, dreaming of a home
His heart was barely keeping pace when I found him all alone
Remembering the way he felt when his daddy said goodbye
Fighting just to keep the tears and the anger locked inside
He's barely holding onto faith
But deliverance is on its way, cause

I believe always, always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and his promise remains
He will be with you always

Friend, I don't know where you are and I don't know where you've been
Maybe you're fighting for your life or just about to throw the towel in
But if you're crying out for mercy, if there's no hope left at all
If you've given everything you've got and you're still about to fall
Well hold on, hold on, hold on, cause

I believe always, always
Our savior never fails
Even when all faith is gone
God knows our pain and his promise remains
Always, always, He will be with you always

Sunday, March 22, 2009


These thoughts are not meant to be morbid. The older I get the more I realize that I have almost as many loved ones who have "gone home" as those who remain. I received the news today that my aunt passed away today. She is the latest of several in the past several months who have preceded her.

The group MercyMe have written several songs that deal with those who have died. I was reminded of several of their songs tonight.
I have included the words to one of them for you.

You’re in a better place, I’ve heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I’ve rejoiced for you
But the reason why I’m broken the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place
Lord won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow
I‘ve never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord because I don’t understand Your ways
The reason why I wonder if I’ll ever know
But even if You showed me the hurt would be the same
Because I’m still here so far away from home

In Christ there are no goodbyes
In Christ there is no end
So I’ll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again

Written by MercyMe and Peter Kipley

Monday, March 9, 2009

God Is Able

Some thoughts from my devotional yesterday. Maybe you need to be reminded that God is able.

Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day (2 Timothy 1:12).
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them (Hebrews 7:25).
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy- (Jude 1:24).

He Is Able
Lyrics by Rory Noland and Greg Ferguson

He is able more than able
To accomplish what concerns me today
He is able more than able
To handle anything that comes my way
He is able more than able
To do much more than I could ever dream
He is able more than able
To make me what He wants me to be

© 1989 Maranatha Praise Inc

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Birthday Cards

This past week I celebrated another birthday. It was regular day of work and then a quiet evening with my wife. We enjoyed a good meal together and spent a few minutes shopping before heading home.

This weekend we were able to see our children. It had been a month since we have seen them. They have been very busy this spring. Anyway, as part of our weekend, we enjoyed a baseball game, a basketball game, and some cake and strawberries.

My children also gave me some birthday cards and a present. The present was very nice, and unexpected, but they cards are worth mentioning. I opened a card from my daughter and her husband, and then my son handed me another card. What made it so special is the cards were identical. Obviously, who would know better that "I'm disturbed" than the ones who made me that way - my children.

The card(s) read: "Dad, on your birthday you deserve at least 24 hours of uninterrupted rest." Then I read the inside of the card:
"So use this!" Inside of the opposite page is a door hanger that reads: "Do not disturb! I'm a Father! (I'm already disturbed.)"

The card(s) were special and the sentiment was exactly correct.
"I am a father" and "I am already disturbed." We enjoyed the laughter of the moment. I'm not sure what was funnier that my children got me the same card or that I am disturbed. But who would know better that "I'm disturbed" than the ones who made me that way - my children.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Reflections - Good News

Yesterday was a good day of worship. The congregation sang "Everlasting God." It is always good when we can be reminded of the Isaiah 40 passage. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." "The Lord is the everlasting God."

We also sang the song "In the Presence of Jehovah." There is a phrase in this Geron Davis song that is always uplifting: "Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the King."

Our congregation loves the Tommy Walker song "He Knows My Name." Two scripture passages come to mind when singing this song. The first one is Isaiah 43:1, where God says: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." The other is John 10:14: "I am the good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me."

The pastor preached from Philippians 4:10-13 where he reminded us that "God is BIG Enough to Meet My Needs." In this day of recession, depression - both economically and for some personally - it is good to be reminded that our God is BIG enough to meet our needs. In verse 19 of that same passage the apostle Paul writes: "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

I was reminded today about some more Good News. In fact, God knows what I will write before I do: "Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord" (Psalm 139:4). I stare at the night sky in awe, but He looks at the stars "and calls them each by name" (Isaiah 40:26).

I don't understand the technology which makes this blog possible, but "his understanding has no limit" (Psalm 147:5). I cannot see anything beyond my computer and the desk on which it sits this morning, but "nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13). In short, "he knows everything" (1 John 3:20).

Maybe you needed some Good News today. I am glad that our Sovereign God is big enough to meet my needs. "His understanding has no limit" and yet He loves us.