It will be my pleasure to speak on Wednesday at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary chapel. Liz and I spent three great years on the The Hill in Ft Worth. I would later commute from Henrietta , Texas, to do work on my D.Min degree. Those years on campus doing Masters level work were formative days for me.
A stroke of genius of the SBC Cooperative Program is the investment Southern Baptists make in theological education. I realize we sell the CP with missions and most of the promotion comes from the emphasis on international missions. However, one of the line items Southern Baptists prioritize in giving is support for six seminaries. These funds help keep the cost of theological education down so our students can study and not go bankrupt doing it. It still is not cheap, but CP funding helps train the next generation of leaders for our churches.
So I am back on the SWBTS campus for a few hours tonight and in chapel Wednesday morning. Great memories always flood my soul when I am in Fort Worth. I will drive by a little house on Baldwin Avenue where we lived. I will remember Professors Drummond, Fish, Nelson, Hunt and others who challenged me. And I will ask God to make my message in chapel to be a blessing to someone, as many of them were to me in 1978-1980.
Yesterday was a great day at Olive. Pat Williams, Senior Vice-President of the Orlando Magic, was our guest for our final Summer Men’s Rally. Pat also gave an hour to the pastoral staff team.
Pat shared The Eight Principles to Build Team. He motivated us as he shared from his mind and soul
• You cannot have great teams without great talent.
Talented people are teachable and coachable. They also bring a lot to the table.
• You can never be an outstanding team without outstanding leadership.
Read his book Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams for more good insight.
• Teams are committed.
Committed to each other, to excellence, to competing and to winning.
• Teams are passionate about what they do.
Fun is a must ingredient!
• Less me and more we.
• Teams empower each other.
• There is respect on the team. Respect leads to trust leads to loyalty leads to love leads to friendship.
• Great teams are made of men and women of character.
Two years ago this week my son Bennett married Amanda Sawyer. We now have both children married but the first one was new territory for us. The wedding a fun event. But it was one weekend out of a life. However, the giving of a son and the receiving of a daughter-in-law is for a lifetime.
So here we are two years later and Amanda is a part of our family. She brings a new dynamic to the Traylor family. First, she is younger than all of us! She has an outgoing personality. She and Liz have a wonderful relationship. Amanda learns from her mother-in-law. She is a joy to have in the family. To Bennett and Amanda, happy second anniversary!
In staff meeting this morning I had the team in small groups formulating a list of ”how to make one’s spouse happy.” We had an interesting discussion. Many things were on the list. The one word I heard over and over was LISTEN! That seemed to be a big deal. So, I plan to do better.
Amanda, remember to listen. Bennett, remember to listen. I think this is important as you move to year 3.
In less than one month we will remember the 10th anniversary of 9-11. It will fall on Sunday. Many people are planning events to commemorate the day that changed America. Cokesbury Methodist will present a musical in their evening service. Olive has a special morning planned from 9 AM until 11 AM. And recently I have learned of a God and Country service planned for Santa Rosa County at Milton High School at 3PM. The school and city officials have teamed up with local leaders to promote and sponsor the event.
OH NO! The city of Milton has now breached the First Amendment. They are establishing religion according to Susan Watson and the ACLU. I am attaching the letter so you can read what the ACLU states.
Here is the problem with the ACLU’s stance. They believe the First Amendment disallows the government to touch anything religious. They see the government entity cooperating with local churches as establishing them as the preferred religion of the state. It is a smokescreen. What the ACLU desires is for religion to away from the public domain and hide inside its own walls. This separation of church and state issue is the big bully in the room. Do as we say or we will sue.
Do you remember 9-11? People prayed everywhere! This was not an establishment of a preferred religion. It was American people crying out to God for help, comfort and security. And that is all the Santa Rosa God and Country Rally is. Milton is not establishing a preferred religion. The government is merely working with its citizens to serve them. I thought that was part of their function.
By the way, I was at Pensacola City Hall a few days ago to pray over the mayor and council meeting. Did they establish Olive that night? When I prayed at the state capital, I was given a small check to help with travel. I did not ask for or expect the reimbursement, but was Olive established in Tallahassee? The answer is no. And the First Amendment is not being breached by plans in Santa Rosa County for 9-11.
In the book Bone of His Bone F.J. Huegel asks a pointed question.
“May it not be that the great world crisis, with its economic, financial, and moral agonies, which has enveloped the nations today in the clouds of pessimism, is due after all to the spiritual coldness of the church?”
He asserts the church has failed to be salt and light. Therefore, the nations we live in suffer because we not the influence Christ desires us to be. In a day when political parties and individual candidates blame one another, we have need for someone to stand and say, “The buck stops with me (us).”
The church is the divine agency for the redemption of the nations. We dare not be cold and indifferent about the commission given to us. There is a crying need to slay the monster of selfishness. The floodgates need to be opened in the nations for the free circulation of the great love of Jesus. HE is the hope of the world.
First week back from Alaska has been a busy one. After two days of appointments and meetings at Olive, I drove to Pisgah to visit my parents for a couple of days. Last night I preached at Dotson Memorial Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee. My friend Dr. Charles Sullivan is serving as interim pastor. There was a marvelous spirit and excitement in the congregation.
Know matter where I travel it is always great to be home. I have missed my Olive family. The time away was refreshing but it’s time to get back to work. There is no other place I would rather be. I am grateful to serve as Olive’s pastor.
It was a joy to be in Alaska with my family last week. Last fall the Olive family gave Liz and me the trip for my twentieth anniversary as pastor. We did some planning and decided to take Rachel, Brad, Bennett, and Amanda with us. This was a great family bonding/building experience. Thank you, Olive Baptist, for making the trip and time away possible.
As we sailed north from Seattle, I sat on the deck in the cool air reading two books I recommend:
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: She tells the story of WW II lieutenant Louis Zamperini. It is an account of survival, resilience and redemption. I had a hard time putting it down. I was moved. I wept and I laughed. You will complain less and give greater honor to those WW II vets who placed it all on the line for America. The need to get every person under the sound of the Gospel was evident.
Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow: Here is a young man I have watched play football. I knew much of his story, but this book gives new insights into strong family, personal grit and standing for Jesus against peer pressure. The story of his dog Odis was worth the read. As Tim enters year two with the Denver Broncos, I will be pulling for him. Jesus champions are needed in our world.
If you ever have opportunity to cruise in Alaska, I recommend it. This was the second trip for Liz and me. God made something special when He carved out the great state of Alaska.