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Posts from September 2008

Memory Lane

Earlier today I found a box of photos from when I was youth pastor here at First Baptist.  In these pics were hundreds of students who are now grown, some married with kids.  I thought it would be funny to post them on my Facebook and MySpace pages.  Wow!  The response has been great.  Of course there are the idle threats that I have to remove certain pics because they're embarrassing.  I just told them that I'm posting all these pics for those who have left our church.  I'm going to keep the pics up on the web until they all move back to Orange Park and start attending our church again.  Just a little Christian blackmail.




4 - Life is a Highway - Final Destination

This is the final message in our series on personal financial freedom.  For more information and help with personal finances, go to  There are options on there for finding a personal budget coach. 
We also hope to offer small groups in the future regarding personal finances and how to get a handle on them.  Stay tuned for that.

Download 4_life_is_a_highway_09282008.mp3


Just Saw Fireproof Again

My wife and I saw Fireproof a couple of months ago at a pastor's preview event.  Today, we took our family.  I think I liked it better the second time through.

The theater was almost full.  That's pretty impressive since it was a 2pm showing and the Gators were on television (however, seeing as how the game ended, I'm sure many Gator fans wish they were at the movie.) 

I just received this e-mail from the Fireproof guys.  It seems that on opening night Fireproof came in third nationally.  This is baffling the Hollywood insiders.  How can an independent film from Albany, Georgia come in third nationally?  Seems God confounds the experts again.

If you haven't yet seen the film, do so before Sunday ends.  Eventually, we'll show it at the church, but don't wait.  Go see it now!

Fireproof Opens Today

The film I've been sharing about the past two weeks opens today.  Fireproof, by the makers of Facing the Giants, is a great film about real life, marriage, and God's intervention.  I encourage everyone to see it this weekend (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) in that opening weekend numbers will drive how long it stays in theaters and whether or not theaters will show more films like this in the future.

There's been quite a bit of publicity about this film recently.  Articles have appeared in USA Today and yesterday Dr. Phil's show was about marriage and featured firefighters, police officers and the star (Kirk Cameron) and producers (the Kendrick brothers) of the film and the pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church.

Also, the Love Dare, the book featured in the film is on it's fifth printing (and it hasn't even hit stores yet) due to demand.

Here are some things to look for in the film:

  • Look for actors from Facing the Giants to turn up again
  • Tthe place kicker is driving the car that leads to a wreck
  • The coach of the winning school in FTG shows up at the end of the film, but not as a coach
  • One of the dads from the  FTG football team helps move the car off the railroad tracks
  • The opposing coach with the lollipop in Facing the Giants is back (with a lollipop)
  • Look for the Lollipop Shop in a clip that is owned by the opposing coach from FTG.
  • I think the car lot from the Kendrick's first film, Flywheel, is in the film as well.  Not too sure about that one.
  • Both Kendrick brothers are in the film, as is their father.  He's in a wheelchair.  They were all featured in a past issue of HomeLife magazine.
  • Also, years ago Kirk Cameron stated that he would never kiss another woman other than his wife, even if in a movie or television show.  There's a scene where he kisses his on-screen wife and we all know Chelsea Noble did not have a part in this film.  So what gives?  Well, the Kendricks and the folks at Sherwood Pictures have also said they would never have non-married couples be intimate or kiss in a film.  This is what they did.  They flew in Kirk's wife, Chelsea, put a dark wig on her and adjusted the lighting so you couldn't tell.  When Kirk's character kisses his wife, it's actually Kirk kissing Chelsea. 

So, get your tickets.  Seems that has listed this film as the best selling movie for the weekend through their site.  That's great!  Don't miss out and don't miss the film.

Not Quite There

It's been a while since we introduced the concept of becoming a missional church.  While we have made great inroads into this movement, we still have far to go.  It's a radical shift from being an internally minded church to an externally minded one.  To think "kingdom sized" thoughts is difficult.

We have stepped out.  We have opened a South Campus.  It's gone well, but even there the tendency is to resort back to the "old way" of doing church.  Now, there's nothing wrong with the "old way" if you're talking about theology, preaching, discipling.  It's when you fall back to older methods that worked 50 years ago and have been proven time and again to be fruitless today.

What more needs to be done?

Well, for starters, we need to continue to cultivate an atmosphere of serving and love, especially for newcomers.  Last night at dinner a new couple came in, sat down by themselves at a table to eat and were only greeted by a staff person.  Now, that was good and our pastors and families should greet newcomers, but so should everyone else.  We're just not there as a whole, but we're getting better.

I'm looking to lead us soon through a series that will help each person discover what their shape for ministry is and how they can discover their purpose.  It's more than a program, it's about fulfilling God's calling on our lives.

So, don't give up.  We've come a long way.  Just don't get prideful and think we have arrived.  We have a long way to go.  So, follow me as we continue on this journey.

Wednesday is for Friends

It's pretty amazing what technology allows nowadays.  I'm sitting at my computer, working on "stuff" for the weekend and a window pops up on my screen.  It's Nicole saying "hi."  Nicole (can't share her last name because of where she serves) is a former student in my ministry who has truly grown up here at our church.  Her faith has grown and last year she followed God's call to serve Him in Central Asia.

Through the program "Skype" which she told me about, we can call each other through our computers.  It's amazing.  Normally, we just IM each other through it, but you can actually call and use a PC camera and microphone.

So here she is, halfway around the world, serving God through the International Mission Board and we're talking like she's just down the street.  Amazing.

Nicole is a young woman with incredible character.  She is one of the most intelligent people I have ever been around.  Her area of study and grades in college are testimony to that.  Yet, with all that going for her (as some would say) she chose to follow God's lead into the mission field.  It's just a two year program, but pretty gutsy for this Florida girl to move halfway across the world to serve. 

She is talking about coming home in nine months, but I can tell it's bittersweet for her.  She loves her family and friends here, but has developed close ties with the people there as well. 

Who knows what God's next chapter in Nicole's story is?  Well, God does of course, but we've not been given that insight.  To faithfully serve and wait on the Lord is key.  She is doing that and I am so proud of her.

What a great example of doing "whatever it takes" to serve Him.

Should Have Seen This Coming

I guess I should have seen this coming.  That's part of being in a spiritual war.  Unfortunately, often we forget.  I think I have said it before "We are a forgetful people."  We're much like the Israelites of old.  We forget what God can do and has done in our lives.

Well, here's what I see happening.  This series of messages I have been presenting on personal financial freedom have been "outside the norm" for us.  I know God led me to present these truths, yet it's different.  I have never been in a church that focused from the pulpit on personal finances like this.  Now, I've heard, and even preached, messages about money before, and I don't apologize for that.  But, this time, I'm taking a different approach.  It's not about the money, but about our hearts.  It's about our freedom.  It's about life. 

Some people just don't want to hear it.  Maybe that's why there were a number of empty seats Sunday.  Some avoid it.  You know, the truth hurts.  However, we all need it.  Me included.

Last Sunday, we gave out the Crown Money Map.  Apparently, this visual tool was what many people needed.  The positive responses have been great.  Last Sunday's message was one of the most downloaded ever.  So, we seem to be hitting a needed topic at this point.

What should I have seen coming?  The spiritual warfare.  There are families in our church striving to get this area of their lives in order, to get their houses in order and now are facing job loss, financial strain, and uncertainty.  It's time for us to pray for each other specifically in this area.  God is rescuing people, families, but the Enemy is attacking.  Keep praying and hang in there.

3 - Life is a Highway - Read the Map

Today, we provided all attendees with the Crown Financial Ministries "Money Map."  If you would like a copy, go to 

Also, I listed 11 steps to begin to get out of debt.  I talked fast, so I thought I'd post those steps here for those who did not get them. . .

  1. Pray

  2. Give regularly

  3. Accumulate no new debt.  Stop borrowing!

  4. Establish a writen spending plan or budget that allows a monthly surplus for debt repayment.

  5. Set up an emergency account of at least $1000 (You're now at Destination 1 on the Money Map)

  6. List your assets - everything you own.  Determine if you should sell any assets and use that money toward debt reduction.

  7. Establish a debt repayment schedule.  Most creditors are willing to work with people who honestly

    want to repay their debt, communicate regularly and follow through. 

  8. List your liabilities - everything you owe.

  9. Try to pay off the smallest debts or those with the highest interest rates first.  Once you have paid off the first debt, add that payment amount to the regular payment for the second one and so on until the debts are paid off.
  10. Consider earning additional income.
  11. Reduce spending.

  12. Don't give up.

Download 3_life_is_a_highway_read_the_map.mp3

Games to Watch

Last night Fleming Island High held off Lake City Columbia 17-16.  It shouldn't have been that close, but all in all the FIHS defense sealed the game.  It was a great game to watch. 

Today marks when most colleges stop playing "gimme" games and get into some real competition.  Here are some to watch. . .

Tennessee v. Florida

I pick Tennessee.  They're playing in Knoxville and even though Florida has a better team on paper, I think the Orange and White will prevail.

Florida State v. Wake Forest

There's something about ACC football that tends to make me turn the channel, but maybe this is Bowden's (or is it Jimbo Fisher's) chance to prove a point.  I pick FSU to be Wake.

Alabama v. Arkansas

I wish Arkansas could win this one, but they won't.  It won't even be close.  This is a matchup of two coaches that are on my "least favorite list".

LSU v. Auburn

LSU wins again.  After barely beating North Texas last week 41-3, they'll be ready for the Tigers.

Troy v. Ohio State

The way OSU has been playing recently isn't very impressive.  I think today we'll see an upset.  The Sun Belt's Troy Trojans will beat the Buckeyes.