It is Labor Day weekend. If you have a job be thankful.
Today I have looked back at the places I have worked.
I worked for my parents in the Pisgah IGA. One year I read water meters for the city of Pisgah (snakes do get in those meter boxes!) One summer I put on hot tar roofs for a construction company. And I worked in a warehouse for Dover Mills moving bolts of cloth.
New Lebanon Baptist in Odenville, ALA. We had 44 in Sunday School the first Sunday I was there. I was single and lived in an apartment until I got married.
FIRST CHURCH OUT OF SEMINARY
FBC Henrietta, TX. They trained me for seven years.
FIRST CHURCH IN A BIG CITY
Orchard Hills Baptist Church in Garland, TX. This suburb of Dallas was a great learning experience for me.
I am honored to labor in the field with some of the greatest people in the world!
“He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” -Ephesians 4:28
On Wednesday and Thursday of this week Dr. Frank Page is convening a non-official committee in Nashville regarding Calvinism. The goal is said to be the crafting of a strategic plan to bring together various groups within the SBC who hold different opinions on the issue. The reason is to develop a strategy to get us to work together in missions and evangelism. The focus of the meetings is said to be practical, not doctrinal in nature.
Unity of brothers is a good and pleasant thing according to Psalm 133. Talking to one another rather than about one another is a good step. I pray some good comes from the meetings and dialogue.
The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 for Baptists to come together cooperatively in missions and evangelism. These practices come from our doctrine. They can never be divorced. An understanding of soteriology is essential for cooperation. Anyone who confirms Jesus died for our sins, and not only ours but for the sins of the entire world, is a fellow laborer with me. They may not serve on my staff or use my methods, but we can cooperate within our denomination.
If Jesus did not die for all, then we have some more committee work to do.
Looks like Isaac is headed toward the Florida Panhandle. Forecasters give us estimates as to where it will make landfall. Computer models take into account the surrounding weather circumstances. They are often very accurate but not always. Thus, we have the cone of uncertainty. It is a wide guess at the future direction of a storm.
God does not estimate. He is always accurate. His followers can live within the cone of certainty because he promises to always be with us. Isaiah 43:2 says,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
Through hard times, trials, and even hurricanes God will take care of his people. Hold onto his word before, during, and after stressful times.
One thing is always certain. God is faithful.
The ACLU in Pensacola is once again lodging complaints against a Northwest Florida school. And just in time for the opening bell of a new year. Susan Watson and the local ACLU is complaining that Jacqueline Harris Preparatory Academy (a charter school) is teaching religion. They took note that in the explanation of the school name God is mentioned. It is named for Jacqueline Harris, a lady who loved God.
There is a movement in America to remove the mention of God from any state organization. And it seems Pensacola is a primary target. WHY?
Well, when the first settlers of our great nation came to these shores, they landed in Pensacola. One of the first things they did was place crosses on the beach and observe communion. The devil has hated it ever since. The cross was here before the ACLU arrived, and it will stand tall when they are gone.
PERSIST JHPA! Keep loving kids and teaching!
Olive Baptist Church serves as a polling place today. I voted at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on University Boulevard this morning. No separation of church and state when it comes to polling places in Florida. I have been surprised that someone has not raised a protest. It is an amazing world we live in these days.
VOTING! Everyone qualified should do it. Get involved. Do your homework and cast a ballot. The big one is coming in November with the presidential race. However, as the old saying goes, “All politics are local.” The county races are very important. Pray for those who are elected and serve.
The next 70+ days are going to be nasty. Our America is deeply divided. Campaign ads will spew all kinds of things.
The rhetoric merely exemplifies the spiritual condition of America. Yet people are still lining up to get into the USA. Some come legally and others cross over under cover of darkness to chase the American dream.
It is still a “Golden Door” that Lady Liberty lifts her torch beside. Once we are in the door we have responsibilities. Voting is a major one.
“Organizational health is the single greatest competitive advantage.” I read this quote from Peter Lencioni today. The statement may or may not be true. However, having organizational health is big time important in any organization, including Olive Baptist Church. What are some factors that lead to health in an organization?
1. Understanding one’s assignment
2. TRUST in fellow workers
3. Having a leader with integrity
4. Enjoying your work and giving your best
5. Being a team player
Some of this played out in Baton Rouge today when football coach Les Miles dismissed an All American from the team for violation of team rules. It took guts to do the right thing. And mark it down, this will help the #1 ranked Tigers in the long run.
In an age of multi-media, social media, mass media, and every type of media one can think of, Olive is always trying to stay out in front of this changing world, which is difficult to do. In order to grow our media presence we have made some changes to help keep up with the fast-paced world of media. Allen Farr has been serving on our media staff for some time in the audio field, he is now taking over as our Media Director. Allen will help to bring our media team together and help us to stay current in reaching the various generations through the variety of media outlets that Olive uses. Please pray for Allen as he leads the media team and seeks to help us share the Gospel through the numerous media tools we have at our disposal.
I am back from a few days of vacation in the hills of North GA. Here are a few thoughts as I enter the weekend.
1. Excited to be back at Olive and preach on the Personal Action of the Holy Spirit from Zechariah 4.
2. The Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day on Wednesday caused a stir. I have been dialoguing with some young adults on Facebook that had disagreement with the day. They sense the Gay community felt hate. This is a worthy question to consider. I am working now on a sermon to present on Why and How to Disagree with Same Sex Marriage. For this culture it must be more than the Bible says so. We will begin there but deal with other issues.
3. College football is just around the corner. The team I pull for started pre-season camp today. How would you like to be working out in this heat? WOW!
4. This month we have the first wave of the fall elections in Florida. Count on this – when the Presidential ballots are counted all eyes will once again be on Florida.
5. Going to the Chumukla Opry tonight!
From 1959-1966 my wife grew up in Toccoa, Georgia. Yesterday Liz and I spent the day there. We visited First Baptist Church where she was baptized (In fact, I have the communion table from that old church in my office. It was a wedding present from one of her friends).
We then had lunch with four of her classmates from middle school days. I heard funny stories (and some lies I think!), saw some tears and watched old friends reconnect. It was a great day for Liz. She visited the clinic her dad started. We drove by her childhood home. Very enjoyable day!
What did I learn?
1. Childhood memories are important.
2. The past can be overcome.
3. Churches must change to touch each generation.
4. Spending time with your wife is important. To shut up and listen is often good.
5. Cities must evolve or die.
6. History is powerful- do not ignore it.