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September 2008

Posts from August 2008

Flashback - Now I Remember

My brother and his two children are visiting with us this week.  It's been a great time, but has reminded me of things I have obviously forgotten.  You see, his little boy is four and his daughter is two.  Here are some things that I had forgotten:

  • With a four year old and a two year old in the house, the floor is never clutter-free.  I think we have forty Hot Wheels cars and little toy makeup pieces all over the living room.
  • Children can be picky eaters.  My nephew only eats French Fries, pancakes, chips and peanuts.  That's every meal.  Since our pancakes are blueberry ones, we have to pick the blueberries out before he'll eat them.  My neice, on the other hand, will eat anything.
  • Pull-ups and diapers.  We sometimes have to take the trash out before the can is full because of these items.
  • Questions, questions, questions. . . "Why?'" 
  • I'm tired just watching them run around.
  • The power of influence.  My niece only repeats what my nephew says.  As she ages she will develop original thoughts, but it hasn't happened yet.
  • Crying for no reason.  Well, I can't figure out the reason.
  • Only parents can understand some words that come out of their children.  All other adults around have that "What did she say?" look on their faces.
  • I thought all small children took naps.  These don't.  I like naps.
  • They can be so funny, and not even mean to be.
  • They get excited about routine things like "We get to ride in the truck!  Yay!!!"
  • The paper shredder amazes them.  Just hope they don't shred anything while I'm not looking.

We're having a great time and they are great kids.  However, someone needs to pick up all those Hot Wheels cars.


Baptist Perspectives

Two blogs in one day?  OK, I'm an overachiever.

Here's the deal.  I was reading Ed Stetzer's blog this morning (www.edstetzer.com) and he linked to a great article by Southern Baptist Convention President Dr. Johnny Hunt.  This is a portion of an article in the magazine SBCLife.  I thought it was valuable and worth sharing.  My response after reading it was "Wow!  Amen!" 

Jesus prayed that His followers would be unified so that the world may know You sent Me (John 17:23). That prayer is desperately needed for our Convention today...

hunt.jpgI, for one, am ready for a change -- a positive change that calls us to build on our Conservative Resurgence and focus on building great churches, evangelizing the unsaved, reclaiming the wayward, taking the Gospel to the lost and the least, starting new churches, and sending several thousand new missionaries to the unengaged, unreached people groups of the world. And, if I can read the Convention messengers, they felt the same way in Indianapolis...

I want us to bring the next generation of young leaders into an active participation in our Convention. We have lost much of a generation of pastors, and if we lose the younger generation, we have no future.

We have tried to "tell" them to come back, but to no avail. However, we need a new plan. Simply put, it is not working to "welcome" them and not "affirm" them. We have to acknowledge that many people are doing church differently in many contexts right here -- we must acknowledge that you do not have to travel to Africa to find a different culture. North America is full of people who think differently, worship differently, and lead differently than my own generation. Paul would value this as diversity. We, as a Convention, are blessed with a wonderful group of godly, young pastors coming along behind us. And, if they share our confession and want to be in this partnership, it is high time we affirmed them and welcomed the diversity of scripturally sound ways that they do church in their context...

This is a big task, and trends are not good -- the Convention annual meeting is getting older and smaller every year...

Do you really believe that we can turn the tide? No! And neither do I. But God can!...

I believe we stand at a crossroads. We can continue to fuss over minor issues or, as Dr. Rogers gave us the charge, we can unite with a common mission. The expectation of the Conservative Resurgence was that we would agree on enough doctrinally that we could focus on the nations -- let's begin now, and let's do it together.

Read the entire article here.


Time to Vote

In our county today, many elections will be finalized.  Since the majority of candidates are affiliated with the same political party, most will have no further campaigning to do following today.

I believe the right to vote is valuable.  In fact, it's a great privilege.  It never ceases to amaze me how many registered voters do not participate in the process.  However, many complain about the outcomes. 

So, today, pray through the process.  Go to our church website (www.opfirst.org) and scroll down on the main screen.  You'll see links to voters guides and faith answers from local candidates.  Read through these and be an informed voter. 

One of my friends who is running for office shared that his concern is that voters will presume the man or woman will get the votes necessary and won't take the time to go to their precinct.  Well, we in Florida should know that every vote matters.  Don't make presumptions.  I voted for him this morning.  He is a friend, member of our church, qualified leader and I'm wearing his election T-shirt on my Facebook picture (A large billboard is in my front lawn promoting him as well.)

If you have questions about where to vote or what you need to bring go to www.clayelections.com

I_voted


Saturday is for Random Thoughts

  • I'm amazed our power didn't go out this weekend.
  • We discovered where to go in our house in case a tornado has been spotted.
  • The Olympics just aren't as interesting now that Michael Phelps is done.
  • Remember when the decathalon winner was a big deal.  Seems that our American winner, Bryan Clay isn't talked about much.  Guess he won't make the Wheaties box like Bruce Jenner did.
  • I won't be able to mow the lawn for a week.
  • Regardless how many times I watch it, Band of Brothers still gets to me.  Amazing mini-series.
  • Chef-Boy-Ardee macaroni and cheese tasted better when I was eight.  I think they changed the recipe.
  • How can teenagers sleep until noon?
  • Why don't they put the gas tank on the same side of all vehicles?
  • I'm ready for Heroes and Lost to come back on TV.
  • I finally saw The Dark Knight.  It was dark.  I saw it at night. 
  • Chester's Puff Corn is my new favorite snack.  They look like deformed Chee-tos.
  • We put moth balls around the fence in our backyard to keep water moccasins out.  Now my backyard smells like K-Mart.
  • Did anyone over 35 ever eat chicken nuggets as a kid? 
  • "I Love Lucy" still makes me laugh.  I'm using a clip for a sermon in September.
  • Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) is 69 today.  Remember him?
  • I'm tired of getting hundreds of e-mails about mortgages and medications.
  • I will not be getting up at 2:30am to watch the USA basketball team play for gold.  That's what Tivo is for.
  • Baseball and softball will no longer be Olympic sports, but trampolining and table tennis will remain.  Weird.

The Perfectly Slow Storm

So I get up this morning, turn on the local news to see where the tropical storm had moved.  I thought my Tivo had stalled because the map of the storm looked exactly like it did yesterday.  I guess I shouldn't complain, it could be much worse.  If this is the worst storm we get this year, we are blessed.

I was on Facebook and looking at everyone's current status.  Everyone in Florida is apparently suffering from cabin fever and is bored because of the storm.  Even students wish school was in (never thought I'd see that.)

I thought this was funny.  On the news this morning they warned about getting out on the streets due to downed power lines and flooding in some areas.  About a minute later, they said "Area malls and shopping centers are open, so go shopping to keep from being cooped up."  Hmmm.  Don't get on the roads, but go shopping.  Very confusing.


Riding the Storm Out

Remember the old REO Speedwagon song "Ridin' the Storm Out"?  Well, that's what we're doing today.  We closed the church office because we want to make sure our employees are safe and can be home.  The schools are closed today and tomorrow and as of now, Tropical Storm Fay is just hanging out at the beach.  However, it looks like we'll have stronger winds and much rain for the next few days.  Can you imagine Noah and his family being trapped in the ark for forty days?  Talk about cabin fever.  I think I'd go crazy.

OK, so I'm reading my Bible this morning and I came across, once again, a passage that I'm sure God wanted me to read today.  I am currently reading through the Bible this year, using a plan we make available at the church.  So, today, the New Testament passage was from 1 Corinthians 2.  I'm reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible this year, so let me share with you what it said. . .

1 Corinthians 2:10-16

Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him?  In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God.  We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.  But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God's Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually.  The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone.  For:  who has known the Lord's mind, that he may instruct Him?  Be we have the mind of Christ.

Wow!  Not to harp on the things of last week, but after being called foolish by strangers, disgruntled church members, and others, it can get to you.  Then, I read this.  Thanks God!

The natural man cannot know the will of God.  The bitter man, even Christian, will not hear the voice of God.  Only the spiritual man (or woman).  The mind of Christ is available.

Take this as encouragement to you - others may think you're foolish for believing God, for following Christ, for making the right decisions, but God is smiling.  He is the one from whom you should desire approval.

I'll end with this from earlier in the book. . .

1 Corinthians 1:18

For to those who are perishing the message of the cross is foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is God's power.


When Children Watch the News

As an elementary school student in Ohio years ago there were days I would wake up early before school to listen to the news on the radio or watch the news on television.  Now, this was the exception, not the rule.  Normally I would watch cartoons or "The Great Space Coaster" before school, but on days when the weather was an issue, it was the news.  Of course, in Fairborn, Ohio the weather issues were snow related. 

I lived in Greene County, so the anticipation would grow as the announcer would list the schools that were closed for the day.  What a depressing feeling when I realized they had read their entire list and Greene County wasn't there.  Those made for long days.  Of course, if they did read the name of my school district, all the kids in the neighborhood were out sledding and playing in the snow early.

It's similar here in Florida, but it's not snow days the kids are listening for, but hurricane days.  Yesterday, Duval County schools announced closings due to the impending storm, Fay, which could be a hurricane by Thursday.  Of course, my children aren't in Duval County School District, so they get to go to school today.

It's much different having a snow day in Ohio than a hurricane day in Florida.  Not going to school may be fun, but the stress level at home is much different.  When it's a snow day, you can still go outside and play and have fun.  Hurricane days lead to making sure you have an Emergency Preparedness Kit, possibly covering windows, and praying the power doesn't go out. 

Storms are a part of life here in Florida, but we can never get too used to them or we run the risk of ignoring warnings.  I heard of an elderly couple today who tried to ride out Fay in the Canaveral area last night on their houseboat.  As the boat was listing at 45 degree angles, they had to send out a "May Day" and were rescued by other boaters. 

For those reading this here in Orange Park, we are planning to have our Discipleship Fair tonight.  It's a come and go event.  Be smart - if the weather is bad near your house, stay home.  If it's not too bad, come on over.

Stay tuned to local news regarding the weather and school closings.  Make sure you are prepared, but don't take any unnecessary chances.


Evaluation

My wife told me that if they gave medals out for news coverage, here would be standings as of this weekend.

Gold Medal - Michael Phelps (going for his 8th gold in Beijing tomorrow night)

Silver Medal - Bigfoot (they found him in Georgia)

Bronze Medal - Me (I'm so proud.)