Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Last Sunday I offered to send to our group a short article they could use to send to friends about what the Advent season is about and to introduce our church plant. Use is if you like.
Which one of these do you know the most about: Black Friday or Advent?
My guess is that you know more about Black Friday. Let me tell you something you do not know about this upcoming Friday. It occurs on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it's one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States, falling anywhere between the 23rd and 29th of November. While it's not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off – except those working in retail, of course! In the 1960's, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” It also has a financial connotation. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit.
My personal goal is to never have to go shopping on Black Friday – but I am a guy. But what about Advent? I am a pastor and a church planter. The name of the new church is Advent. Let me tell you a little about what Advent means because this Sunday is the first of four Sundays called the Sundays of Advent.
"Advent" comes from the Latin word adventus, which means "visit" or "coming" or "arrival." The four week season of Advent is a time to get ready for the two "visits" of Christ: His first coming through the Incarnation, and His second coming as the reigning Lord. It's a time of waiting, hoping, and getting in touch with our need for a Savior. It's a season of preparation for Christmas, much as Lent is a season of preparation for Easter.
In Advent we look back to the experience of Israelites as they yearned for God to forgive their sin and restore their nation. We put ourselves in their shoes as they hoped for the coming of the Messiah. Thus we ready our hearts to celebrate the good news of Christmas.
No doubt you will see one of the many versions of the classic story, Christmas Carol. This story reminds me of the power of being forced to reflect on the past, present and future. Scrooge is remembered for his coldness but ultimately for the reverse direction he took when confronted with the future as well as misspent past. Tiny Tim has a future because Scrooge looked to the past and repented! I want to be like Scrooge – someone who is willing to repent and also live in light of a hopeful future – that is what Advent is all about. Look back, look forward and have hope because there really is a Savior!
So as you look at your budget before you leave for “Black Friday”, look at you soul during the next four weeks of Advent and see if you have the hope that only the Lord Jesus Christ can give! And if you would like to find out more about that hope and joy you are invited to be a part of the new church we are calling Advent – a joyful, preparing people that are learning how to party!
Until the Trump,
Friday, November 20, 2009
Very 'interesting article! Ken
According to new study results soon to be released from Harris Interactive®, more than three out of four U.S. adults would prefer to receive a meaningful gift this holiday season that would help someone else instead of a traditional gift like clothing or electronics. The study was commissioned by World Vision® among 1,001 adults from October 29 to November 1.
The new survey on charitable giving also concluded that nearly half of U.S. adults (49%) would be more likely to give a "charitable gift" as a holiday present this year. "That finding reveals our charitable culture at work," said Justin Greeves, senior vice president of public affairs and policy research at Harris Interactive.
Additionally, the study showed that, this year, around six out of ten adults (57%) said they will spend less money on holiday presents and almost three out of four (74%) plan to increase their charitable giving once the economy improves. [ChristianPost.com]
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Lady Scots Rally From Behind But Come Up Short Against
November 18, 2009 - 21:46 — covstaff
Lookout Mountain, GA- In their first home game of the 2009-2010 season, the Lady Scots overcame an 18 point half-time deficit and took the lead over Tennessee Wesleyan with just over 5 minutes remaining. Sophomore guard Margaret Cross fueled part of the comeback with several clutch threes, one of which gave Covenant their first lead since early in the first half. Cross finished with a team high 18 points in her 24 minutes of play. Covenant's second half lead, however, was short lived as the Lady Bulldogs surged back in front on their succeeding possession and kept the lead for the remainder of the game.
"We responded well to our half-time adjustments" said Coach Smialek after the game. "Overall, the team played very hard and is continuing to improve. I'm confident that it will all come together soon." Covenant post player Erika Forland recorded her second double-double in as many games with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Brinkley Knowles added 17 points of her own.
The Lady Scots are now 0-2 on the year and will travel to Atlanta, GA this weekend for a small tournament at Emory University. Their next ho scheduled me game isfor Wednesday, December 2 at 5:30 against former rival Bryan College.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The following stat reminds me of Margaret who goes to bed with her cell phone. Rebekah has Lynn cell phone most of the time. She stayed at the lake last weekend rather than coming with me as she had planned because she could not take Lynn's cell phone with her. I am still trying to figure all of this out and what is good and what is obsession with being available. It is a need to feel important that someone is thinking of you so they call you?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Posted: 10 Nov 2009 02:58 AM PST
Remember that Bon Jovi song from the late 80s, "Living in Sin?"
Well, I'm guessing half of you do.
It's about "love" justifying living together as a married couple, without a marriage covenant.
The song shouts, "I call it love, they call it living in sin!"
Remember? Rock ballad, black and white video?
Anyway, people are still talking about it and more people are living together today than they were back in the 1980s. At LifeWay Research, we wanted to know more.
In June of 2008 (and September 2007), we conducted related surveys (thankfully, not about Bon Jovi) for a recent book on parenting, The Parent Adventure: Preparing Your Children For a Lifetime With God, by Selma & Rodney Wilson and Scott McConnell.
In our study, we found that 6% of all parents with children under 18 years of age in their home are living with a partner to whom they are not married.
To give this some context, we first determined that 69% of all parents are married and 31% are single. We asked these single parents the following question:
The 2008 survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,077 American adults who have children under 18 years old in their household. A demographically balanced online panel was used for the interviewing and we have 95% confidence that the sampling error for the total sample does not exceed +3.0%.
One other study in which we asked a similar question to determine current living situation was a study conducted in April-May 2007 among young adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly (twice a month or more) for at least a year in high school.
We asked all respondents:
Please indicate your current living situation.
One of the key findings from this study reported in a story last year was that 70% of these young adults ages 23-30 had stopped attending church regularly for at least a year between ages 18 and 22. When we break out the question above by these "dropouts" compared to those who "stayed in church" during these years, we found a statistically significant difference in the percentage who were currently cohabiting. In short, among young adults who had attended a Protestant church regularly in high school, cohabitation is almost twice as likely among those who stop attending church regularly between ages 18 and 22 compared to those who stay in church.
Dropouts = adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year in high school but stopped attending regularly for at least a year between ages 18 and 22.
Stayed in church = adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year in high school and continued attending regularly between ages 18 and 22.
This study was conducted among a representative sample of 1,023 young adults ages 18-30 who had attended a Protestant church regularly (twice a month or more) for at least a year in high school. A demographically balanced online panel was used for the interviewing and we have 95% confidence that the sampling error for the total sample does not exceed +3.1%.
It is probably not a surprise that those who are cohabiting are also more likely to be dropouts, but it does speak to some of the challenges in reaching adults in our culture.
I'm interested in how you deal with people living together? How do you reach them, answer their questions, and minister to them?
Monday, November 9, 2009
Found this is my reading and like it.
Leadership development consultant Brad Lomenick suggests that when facing times of great intensity and pressure, leaders should:
- Always over-communicate.
- Be methodical and calm, not intense and short.
- List out priorities, so as to not be overwhelmed by the small things that seem to be incredibly urgent, but really aren’t.
- Seek out quiet moments for prayer, reflection and thinking. During times of pressure, that is when we need those quiet moments the most.
- Resist the urge to let things slide or just settle for something average because of the pressure to get it done. Keep your standards and levels of excellence at their highest—don’t compromise.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
September 29, 2009
For nearly four years, Tim Tebow has presented a dilemma in my home. He is an all-American quarterback, perhaps one of the two or three best players ever to play the college game. He is, as we say in my rural Georgia hometown, "tougher than pig iron," often battering his body and willing his troops to victory like Aragorn at Helms Deep. Opposing players see Tebow in the huddle and shudder. He plays every down as if it were his last. I really like that.
But, herein lies our dilemma: he plays for the Florida Gators, the national champions, and my family has for decades bled the red and black of the Georgia Bulldogs, my alma mater's entry in the toughest sports conference in America. For us, the operative equation goes something like this: Dawgs plus Gators equals mortal enemies. But here is my recent problem: Tim Tebow is my brother in Christ. He shares the Gospel, undertakes missions work, and seeks to live a Godward life with the same tenacity that he displays when it is third-and-goa
l on the opponent's one-yard line. Tebow wears eye black emblazoned with John 3:16 and he plays football the way a Christian should: smash mouth, grit-and-gunpowder, all out all the time, to the glory of God. It is exceedingly difficult to root against such a brother. Tebow's full story is available here.
Last season, after Florida suffered its lone defeat of the year, Tebow publicly shouldered the blame for the loss. In a memorable post-game press conference, he pledged to apply every ounce of his strength toward winning the remaining games. Florida won 10 straight (steamrolling our beloved Bulldogs along the way), its final victory coming in the national championship game against Oklahoma. Florida's streak began with Tebow exhibiting a concise summary of biblical manhood - tenacious humility. And Tebow's tenacious humility became the tracks upon which the streak rode. Last weekend, Tebow suffered a concussion against Kentucky, but I suspect he'll be back very soon. He's not the game-missing kind.
Recently, my oldest son asked me if it would be okay if he adopted Tim Tebow as a hero so long as he maintained his primary allegiance to a certain team from Athens, Ga. (where, incidentally, head coach Mark Richt, a vibrant follower of Christ, is also a wonderful example of biblical manhood). I didn't have to think very long. "Absolutely," I told him, wondering if I had really just signed off on such a request. This dilemma has stretched me; it has made me pray for the grace to live in accord with the difficult imperatives of Romans 12, which is always a good thing. In the same manner as Paul admonished believers to imitate him insofar as he imitated Christ, I want my boys to be like Tebow because he is a very clear and winsome example of what biblical manhood should look like in a young man.
One does not have to delve very deep to find a vibrant and orthodox faith living within college football's brightest star. This past summer, Tebow was asked about his commitment to stay pure until marriage. Could it be true? "Yes," he told a cynical media corps, without blinking. Tebow believes the Bible teaches that sex is the exclusive privilege of a man and woman within the bonds of marriage. He said so without blinking, later admitting that he does not date. And so authentic was his answer and so authentic has been his walk before a watching public, the usually snarky fifth estate received the answer without the customary ridicule. "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word." (Ps. 119:9)
Tebow is unashamed of Christ and all the implications that come from following Him. He is willing to endure mockery and ridicule for Christ because, as he recently told ESPN in an interview, living for Christ is life and death. And football? Well, he told ESPN, it is just a game and it is by no means ultimate; Christ and the Gospel are.
This is what biblical manhood does. Biblical manhood carries out assigned tasks with diligent effort to the glory of God. It walks unashamedly with Christ and risks alienating the city of man on issues such as sexual purity because it lives with a greater city in view. It lovingly, humbly, and with biblical tenacity, leads and protects those placed under its care, manfully shouldering the blame and repenting when it fails. Biblical manhood enjoys the good gifts God has given while worshiping the Giver as the supreme treasure. And it pushes fathers to teach their sons that love for the body of Christ trumps affections for their favorite football team.
Go Dawgs, but God bless you brother Tim. Thank you for giving my sports-crazed son a snapshot of Christ and a reminder of the supremacy of the Gospel.
You can find this article here.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The top-10 words kids search online are:
from 10/7/09 edition of
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sam Storms, p 17 To the One Who Conquers
“The only thing that ultimately matters is the degree to which a church corporately and the lives of its members individually are shaped and fashioned according to the likeness of him who is Lord indeed.
In the final analysis, Jesus cares comparatively little about numerical size, cultural relevance, social influence, or financial prosperity. What matters most to him and must therefore matter most to us is whether a church holds forth his name, proclaims the gospel of which he is the center, and heeds his words as guidance to govern its life and loves. Is your church Jesus-driven? Are the ministries and programs of your corporate existence energized and given shape by what pleases him? Is he prized above all earthly treasures? Is faithfulness unto death an easy choice to you and those of your congregation?”
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The title of this blog is CROSS HAPPENINGS. Here is a significant happening.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
I have been reading and praying prayers from the book, Valley of Vision for a long time in my devotions. It is amazing that they seem so appropriate to my life and soul. I prayed this one today. It is comforting that long ago someone else felt the same way and today provides me with the vocabulary to pray my desires.
My favorite phrase is "Ride forth in me, thou King of kings and Lord of lords"
"A Disciple's Renewal."
O My Saviour, help me.
I am so slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb;
I am in the foothills when I should be in the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayerless days,
my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race,
my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours,
my unspent opportunities.
I am blind while light shines around me:
take the scales from my eyes,
grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee,
meditate on thee,
gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet,
lean like John on thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung.
Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be;
more decision in my character,
more vigor in my purposes,
more elevation in my life,
more fervor in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.
As I have a position in the world,
keep me from making the world my position;
May I never seek in the creature what can be found only in the creator;
Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanishes into sight.
Ride forth in me, thou King of kings and Lord of lords,
that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
My Bekah went to a new school, and didn't know anyone. Scary for a thirteen year old. She stayed after school all week to try out for cheering and she made it! I am so proud of her for over coming her fear and pursuing what she wanted.