Sunday, June 21, 2009

Preached the Gospel to myself and others today

I had the great privilege of preaching at a supporting sister Church, Harbor Church in Mooresville, NC today to a full congregation. I also had 3 of my children, Katie McKenzie, Karen, Rebekah and Lynn - a wonderful 100th celebration of Father's Day.

If you would like to either listen or watch the sermon here is the link. I preached this same sermon last week at Westminster Presbyterian in Albemarle. When I sent Bill Heard, the pastor of Harbor, a short list of sermons last Monday he picked this one. Maybe it was better with practice!

The Passage was Mark 5 - a great look at a human and heavenly Father!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Want to give some money?

This is from my enrolled Tax agent's newsletter she sends out quarterly. If you need a charity to donate to I know a church plant in Charlotte that is in need! A great incentive to avoid taxes and advance the Kingdom at the same time!

CHARITABLE DISTRIBUTIONS FROM IRA'S - Extended through December 31, 2009

For the past two years an IRA owner, age 70 1/2 or over has been allowed to directly transfer, tax-free, up to $100,000 per year to an eligible charity.

Trustee to Charity Transfer Required:

To qualify, the funds must be contributed directly by the IRA trustee to the charity. Amounts so transferred are not taxable and no deduction is available for the donation to charity.

Transfers Are Part of Required Minimum Distribution:

Transferred amounts are counted in determining whether the owner has met the IRA's required minimum distribution rules (RMD). Since the RMD's have been waived for 2009, you may think there is no point in taking advantage of this tax break.

However, there may be other reasons to withdraw from an IRA account this year:

* You may need the money and still want to keep up with the regular charitable donations. Donating the IRA would free up other funds set aside for charity.

* You may want to lower the taxable portion of your portfolio for your heirs. Since the IRA produces income in respect of a decedent at the death of the account owner, leaving stock and other property, rather than the IRA, may result in less tax to the beneficiary.

* You may want to get rid of IRA's that are not doing well.

Taxpayers who don't itemize deductions get full benefit of the contribution, since the IRA withdrawal will not be included in taxable income. Of course, they still get to take the full standard deduction.

Since the IRA distribution made to a charity is not included in the taxpayer's taxable income, the many phase outs related to adjusted gross income are minimized. For example, the taxpayer be able to avoid:

* A phase-out of itemized deductions,

* A 50% charitable contribution base limitation, or

* An increase in the amount of social security benefits that are taxable.

Friday, June 5, 2009

27th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 27th Wedding anniversary and it has made me think of the last 3 decades and the decisions I have made. I have thought of many wrong decisions (the Bible calls those sins) and the many good decisions. But this morning I started thinking about a decision I made not knowing what the outcome would be, but trusting God in the process (the Bible calls those faith).
I remember distinctly praying and fasting for a two week period about whether or not I should tell Lynn I loved her. She knew that if I said that, I was proposing marriage. I was in California and Lynn was in Birmingham, AL. Lynn was waiting having already declared she was ready to move forward. I just wanted to make sure that the life I had given to the Lord included marrying Lynn and becoming one flesh. It took faith and it was tested. I called her we were pre-engaged and through a number of situations Lynn broke up with me.
Now in my mind, God had lead me to marry Lynn but now it was in doubt. I stayed true to the course for about eight months sending Lynn letters (before texting) and calling on the phone but her parents were not in favor of this potential union and that hurt a lot. I had to determine if God was in favor of it. God worked over time and Lynn moved away from her folks. So I prayerfully wrote a letter saying that I loved her, believed we should be married but you cannot have a two-way relationship with just one person. So I remember saying something like this in the letter, “I have prayed much about this and have come to the place that either I will hear from you quickly that you want to pursue this relationship or have a good life without me.”
She called me quickly and 10 months later we were married. It was one of the best decisions of my life. I shutter to think what my life would be like without my Bride. God has used her so much in my life. He love, rebukes, intellect, parenting ability, but especially her walk with the Lord has been used of God to sanctify me and mature me. Because of her struggles - I have grown. Because of her strengths – I have been challenged. Because of her holiness I have been humbled. Because of her reading my back has hurt from moving all those books!
A principle that James Raiford taught me in Bible College was, “A faith not tested cannot be trusted.” He was right.
But one think I know – every decision Lynn and I have made including starting a new church in Charlotte (which is one of the scariest decisions) is easier because Lynn is my wife and the mother of my children. Thank you Lord and thank you Lynn. I am a blessed man.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Christ-less Christianity

Loved this quote. Ken

Tullian Tchividjian posts:

“In preparation for my sermon this past Sunday, I re-read the opening lines of Michael Horton’s excellent book Christless Christianity (an absolute must-read for anyone bold enough to handle some right-on-the-money constructive criticism). He writes:

What would things look like if Satan really took control of a city? Over half a century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia (the city where Barnhouse pastored), all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at eachother. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday…where Christ is not preached.

As Horton points out in his book, there is a great difference between moralism and the gospel. We must remember that Christ came first not to make bad people good but to make dead people live. If we forget that, our Christianity will turn out to be Christless.”