Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Most Active Chicken In The Yard

I went to a Pastor's conference this week and got preached to. No, wait that's a good thing. I am doing the preaching now and don't get to hear God's Word over me for me as much now.
One of the best quotes of the day was from Dr. Charles Carter of Alabama. Regarding busyness of people, specifically ministers, He said "Have you ever noticed that the most active chicken in the yard is the one that just got their neck wrung?"

That quote is hilarious and true. [In 7th Grade, I cooked a chicken start to finish, feathers to plate.We started with the sacrificial run, (ours actually clucked twice without a head)]

I saw this post today by John Acuff, and wanted to repost it about church staff burnout. Funny in parts, but also sadly true in many ways. He grew up a pastor's son as I did and much of what he said I have lived. The post is good, but the comments are written by people who are clearly on the edge of burnout - a dangerous place to be. My addition to this is that we need to be able to gently find No in our vocabulary and use it - for our family, and our spiritual growth. One of my goals as a pastor is to raise my children with a love for Jesus AND His church. That cannot happen if we are not allowed to say no, and if they are not allowed to be church members.

I accept life under the microscope, but I intentionally try to practice flexibility and rest for all five of us. My wife and kids are should have to be in focus all the time.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Watch Me!

1 Corinthians 11:1 is a fascinating verse that I used to think of as arrogance. How wrong i was! Paul says, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."

If we are following the Savior the way we should - clearly, wholeheartedly and with pure intent to disciple - it is not arrogance to demonstrate that before someone. After all, we are demonstrating something to someone all the time. The question we need to continually ask is "What am I demonstrating?"

I linked a video to help demonstrate Paul's intent and show how we can do something similar.

Watch Me! Video - Special thanks to Don Carson and AgainstTheFlow Media

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Convicting Window...

It used to be said that you could get a picture of a person's life by looking in their garage or their room and what was contained within and on the walls. I also heard one time that you could look inside one's refrigerator and open a similar window.

Today, when you look at the playlists on an iPod or iPhone or other device you get a picture of a person's soul. Music and media defines us, imprints us. What we choose to watch is a giveaway about what goes on inside.

The below media is a picture of the soul of our country - at least the younger set. Parents, we need to choose carefully what we allow as media choices for our children - for in time it will define them.
Below are the Top 10 videos in October, 2013. Look up some of the lyrics - you don't even have to watch the video. This is vicious and lascivious stuff. No matter what anyone says, lyrics do make the song. It matters what we take in, it really does. Choose well.


Monday, September 30, 2013

High Water...

South Fork of the Kentucky River
Back in the Spring of 2013, I went to a place where God is honored and depended on - Oneida Baptist Institute.

"Oneida Baptist Institute is a Christian boarding and day school for students, Christian and non-Christian, in grades 6-12 with a mission to provide structured living, learning and working environment in which each students is challenged to grow mentally, physically, socially spiritually in order to acquire an Education for Time and Eternity."

I experienced part of the flood of God's Grace on the school through the donations they receive but we also witnessed a flood of water due to several inches of rain that week.

Devotional Thoughts I had at the time:
1. Water took lots of garbage out of it hiding places - Jesus, the Living Water floods our souls and washes out the garbage that He finds there. 

2. The River of Life overwhelms us - and we see and feel its power in our lives. Eternal life will engulf us one day and all  - I wonder if some of the "garbage" will be missed opportunities.

3. This little snake was harmless but was a good reminder that God and his creation are alive and well at Oneida Baptist Institute. Pray for them as they make God's will known to the students and through the ministry that goes on there.
Black Rat Snake

Web Update...

Just an update to our Ministry Site. If you have a minute to surf around - we have updated our site at www.clarksonbaptist.org and would enjoy you being there and even commenting if you feel led.

Thanks. Have a great day today. Jesus Love You!

Monday, September 9, 2013

For Parents...


Everyone needs a reminder now and then. As I continue to pastor, I continue to realize the need to arm people. I cannot make their decisions for them. I cannot be their Holy Spirit, but I can give them information from the Bible and Bible based materials that can assist them, arm them. Properly used, these resources will help us all stay ready for the battle ahead.

One of the biggest distractions to a close walk with the Lord is media. To state the obvious, it is everywhere. It is liquid, simply a part of all we do now. Smart phones, HiDef TV's, movies, music on all the time...it goes on and on. It seeps through every crack.

This post is simply to arm parents. This link below will take you to the PluggedIn Family Room, a resource to arm you as a parent or grandparent. Don't just bookmark it and forget it. Use it. Remove the tool and wield it. Take back the responsibility you have been given as a overseer.

When a child or teen comes to you with a suggestion for a movie and you are unsure you want to spend your money on garbage, but you like movies you should always check the content first!

Check PluggedIn for a good movie review and discussion points about not just the film, but about music too, and tv shows or Playstation games.

Immorality abounds, opportunity to be tripped up is constant, almost handed to us at times. Disciples must be dependent on the power of God in our lives. He will make us strong, but we must also be armed and PluggedIn is one weapon in the battle for purity.

Garbage in, Garbage out. I don't think any of us want that for our kids.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

California Dreamin'

I have this theory that humanity is steadily losing its mind. It's not a new theory, and I am not the only one that has held it. This was prophesied some time ago in Romans 1:18-22 and following.

Unbelief and Its Consequences

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,...21 For even though they knew (about) God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

Key phrases in this passage are "men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness...." and also, "they became futile in their speculation...Professing to be wise, they became fools,"

God and His truth is evident within people; He created the world so that we can see it and truly on a day like today His splendor is hard to deny.
Unless of course, you are in the California legislature. Right in the midst of some of God's most beautiful displays of creative beauty, there is a tremendous amount of suppression of that very display of splendor and truth.

The California Legislature has introduced bill AB-1266 that would permit students in schools to choose which locker rooms and bathrooms to use based upon which gender they prefer to be.

Here’s what AB 1266 says:
A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.
The whole article is Here at CitizenLink. Folks, Truth is truth - but God's people need to wake up and realize this isn't going away. The futile speculations not just in the Hollywood hills or some disconnected city far away. There is corrosion on the buckle of the Bible belt too. Suppression is all around us. God's people need to stand up, and proclaim truth. Live for Jesus today.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Something Authentic To Think About...

Been thinking about church growth lately. It's what pastors do and what healthy churches do, GROW that is. Part of the population who we are reaching out to don't want anything to do with many churches. The problem seems to be authenticity. Jesus gave the command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER, and frankly many, maybe me are not loving.

Here is a good article that i found today that helps to give some perspective. The line that sticks out is this one, and it more than sticks out, it punches, then kicks you while you are down, and then grinds your heart into the dirt once your heart is on the ground. Anyway...

Rachel Held Evans says in her article,"You can't hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We're not leaving the church because we don't find the cool factor there; we're leaving the church because we don't find Jesus there." 

That is pretty convicting to a pastor. 
I wish I could find a way to pass that on to more people.... 
Hmm, Sunday's coming.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Remember When You Could...

This past week, I saw my Dad and he affectionately patted my "love banisters" (see love handles definition) and reminded me of the weight that new pastors can put on.

My problem is that i used to be able to do what's in the picture below. Let's face it the days of bench pressing 300 lbs. are gone.
ZITS - http://www.arcamax.com/thefunnies/zits/

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Lovely Lady…

This is my Grandmama. She's gone home to be with The Lord now. She died Sunday morning in her bed, blessed by departing the way she wanted to go. Not in pain, and not in a nursing home. She died on the day she so often worshipped her Lord. This particular Sunday, she went to worship in a whole new way. Thanks be to God for His glorious gift of salvation. 


Many times Grandmama asked us, "why am I still here?" And we'd answer, "you're here for us." But at 92 and tired, she questioned still. 
She was such a lovely lady. She was funny, and spry. She was a great cook and always wanted us to eat and spend the night. Our stays were never long enough. She played outside with us. Baseball and hide n seek, snowball fights and puddle stomping. She was encouraging and always on our side, always keeping up with us and our families. 
She loved her daughter and son in law, she loved her son and daughter in law, and she loved all 5 of the grandkids and her 10 great-grandchildren. What a legacy!
Her funeral is tomorrow and we will celebrate because she knew Jesus. We will cry because she's no longer in our lives. However, she will always be in our memories. I love you and will miss you, Grandmama!


Romans 10:9-10. John 3:16. Romans 5:8. Ephesians 2:8-10



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

That Guy Can Preach!! DMIN Reflections...

Over the the past week and a half I have been at the Stephen Olford Center at Union University in Memphis, TN for seminars on New Testament Expository Preaching and History of Preaching. Today, we studied the Reformation, The Revivalists, The Great Awakenings and ... a Victorian English pastor and preacher named Charles Spurgeon. One my good colleagues in the class gave an excellent presentation on C. H. Spurgeon today. This video is an humorous addendum about Spurgeon, The Prince of Preachers. Our professor showed us this after the lecture. Enjoy.

video
The rap is by Shai Linne

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!

This video is a dedicated to the all the mothers in my life - but I hope that you enjoy it as well. Share it...The Skit Guys do a great job with their sketches. 
video

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cupbearer to the King...

Nehemiah1:11 "O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant. Now I was the cupbearer to the king."

Simple challenge this week. What does your position allow you to do for the Lord? Think seriously about where you are and what resources are at your disposal. 

Nehemiah was a cupbearer and a trusted (think tasting the potentially poisoned drinks for King-Dude), he was a likable guy. He probably had to do some things in the Babylonian captivity that he didn't agree with in a secular environment, but the Lord still used him because he was willing. 

Serve the Lord where you work. Be willing to serve your boss as you serve the Lord. Be strong in your ethics. Know that people are watching you as you serve in these venues. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Until He Became Strong...

Muhammad Ali has been called the Louisville Lip, and was always known for his pre-fight smack talk. Urban legend tells of his arrogance while flying on an airline to another venues. Before take off he had not fastened his seat belt. The flight attendant requested that he do so and Ali responded, "Superman don't need no seat belt." 
The flight attendant quipped right back "Superman don't need no airplane either." 

Arrogance is funny thing - it falsely insulates the bearer from perception. Perception of how the person is perceived by others, personal perception of personality flaws and can even insulate someone falsely from the dangers of harm. It also opens the door to poor behavior. 
I am reading through the Old Testament and came across this passage about Uzziah, one of the kings of Judah, in the southern dynasty after Israel divided. 2 Chronicles 26 lists many of the accomplishments of King Uzziah, then in verse 15 and 16 there is a shift. The Bible says, "Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong."
There are some fascinating insights in that short verse. The king's dependance was on the Lord much of his reign and then when his resolve upon God slackened he thought his strength was more in himself. Arrogance and pride comes before the fall. 2 Chronicles 26:16 continues, "But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God...."  Those verses should easily lead one to prayer, that we should want to be strong in the Lord and not ourselves. Arrogance is a common hindrance because people have abilities and begin to serve in the flesh. 

Pray with me, "Father, help me to remain dependent on you and not to become arrogant in the things you've led me to do. Protect me from false insulation of pride so that you are glorified and my strength is in You."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Listening Skills...

I love my wife for so many reasons, but one of the many reasons is because she thinks differently than me. This is by The Creator's design for balance within marriage. For example, just this past week i asked her about using an illustration and she helpfully pointed out that it would fit better in a different place and format. I listened and decided she was right. It is not always that smooth, so when this cartoon came to my inbox - I thought...Uh, Yep! I mean, Nope! That is clearly an exaggeration. HA!

Yep!
 Okay, I'm guilty of engaging on too little of the conversation. For an extended laugh session on the differences in men's and women's brains watch this funny Mark Gungor Marriage Video.

video


Have a great Monday! Jesus loves you! Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday Morning Off

This is a 4 lbs 11 oz Mama Bucketmouth. She is still swimming, but the others stayed for dinner! MmmmHmmm.


Caught on the "Sunday Mornin' Special" Jig.



Lipless Crankbait Spring fishing

Monday, April 8, 2013

Freedom!

National Wallace Monument, Scotland
Occasionally, it helps to view the our spiritual lives from a different angle. That's what pastor blogs are for, haha! Above is a picture of The Wallace Monument overlooking the Battle of Stirling Bridge. If I lost you, this is where William Wallace,  yelled "FREEDOM!" and cut people with a large sword to helped win the freedom of the Scots. For more information on the Wallace story and the tower monument, go here.
 ** see footnote

I've been preaching about freedom in Christ recently and we are coming up on Galatians 5:1, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free." Christians have a monument too, but not to a dead man, to Jesus who is alive and reigning. He died to FREE US from guilt and sin, two things that our enemy, the liar and accuser uses against us all the time.
When we live in dependence on His victory we more truly recognize the all encompassing grace AND mercy that The Lord gave on the Cross, we realize that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ and o, the relief it brings from the pressure of guilt and sin. Let's be honest, we still must deal with sin, it is part of us till heaven - and we need as little as possible holding us back from wholeheartedly serving Jesus - so guess who now puts on the armor and picks up the sword and fights for freedom? You do. 
Christ died to give us that freedom and now wants us to march into enemy territory and proclaim "FREEDOM In CHRIST!" How ironic that we must surrender Self to stand with Him in His victory. 





** There was a movie made about this story, but we should be honest and realize the movie had lots of issues and we all need to be more persistent in guarding the media gates to our minds, hmm? (but that's another blog).

Monday, March 25, 2013

So tired of hearing this news...

IT happened again. Another Leader fell to public sexual temptation and immorality within the last few weeks. I hate it, genuinely hate hearing this news over and over. Since I've started writing this post, I've heard the bad news TWICE in just a few weeks. Both of the recent men were in different areas of the country, different men, different roles, and different ministry capacities. When "this great wickedness and sin against God", (Genesis 39:9) happens, the damage to teens and adults that they spoke to and counseled over the years cannot be measured. For now, I'm not writing to speak about the heartbreak.
Johnny Hunt once said that "Evil loves to cloak itself in HIGH POSITION, RESPECTABILITY AND STATUS." He also reminded us to guard the eye gate, the ear gate and even the gates of the senses (our discernment). In Genesis 39 the enemy came after Joseph in a time of privacy (he was alone in the house) and prosperity (he was in charge of the house).
My purpose in writing must be this: If there is someone out there that is entertaining adulterous thoughts - whether in ministry or not, no matter if a preacher or not. If someone is thinking of acting on adulterous thoughts, falling to temptation and acting out the lust of the flesh - I am writing to that person.
Protection in the armor sense is only good when we put it on. Accountability through Scripture, Godly Mentors and Technological Boundaries are the same - when we don't apply them - good resources lie in the armory, useless and untouched. I sometimes talk freely about the need for protection in this age of hedonistic appetites and I get sideways looks like, "What's the big deal with open source anything...tv, internet, smart phone?" But you would never think twice about a soldier advising you to put on body armor to protect you from a bullet. Why are we so arrogant in thinking that we don't need to protect ourselves by placing boundaries around us if only to widen the possibilities of really living; living at least the way that God wants us to - Truly Free. In the Biblical Sense - boundaries, i.e. protection, helps us to truly live!
I am praying for the families of the men that fell. I am praying for the men too. May they rise again - wiser. Consequences dictate that they can never minister in the same place with those same people, but we should pray that their scars will fade and that forgiveness will be offered and received.
I pray also for those that are looking to the future; Stand Strong Brothers and Sisters. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, " 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Content or Discontent, Which Tent Do You Live In?

A Content Tiger
With props to Tim Hawkins, who poked fun at Pastor's catchy titles - Which tent do you live in? For more on that part of his act, go here.

Sometimes we are unfortunately content doing things that we know are wrong because it makes us look good or feels good to our humanity, but spiritually we are tracking muck all over our souls. We should not be content living this way. To state it another way; sometimes we are content ignoring what is good for us - the new life in Christ Jesus.
The picture to the side is our cat, Tiger. Paws crossed, purring, in complete contentedness. The only problem is that he's in the house - where he is not supposed to be.
He darts in with muddy feet when we take the girls to school in the morning, resisting his 'outside cat' title.  He has been scolded time and again, and he continues to push to get in - and once inside he goes underneath the nearest piece of furniture that will hold him and lays down out of reach.
I pray that when sin crouches at your door seeking to get in that you will live the Crucified Life, that the reality of Galatians 2:20 will jolt you with the shock that if Christ is your LORD - then we cannot be content living in the same tent with sin. Crucify it through the power of Jesus in your life. Focus on Jesus, abide in Him.  We are forgetful and lazy, and the next time the door opens - sin may get in again. Vicarious living in Christ reminds us that being crucified with Christ won't be content with leaving the door open. His sensitivity to sin will have you closing the door quickly, even checking before the door opens to make sure we don't leave room for sin to moves in.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Dr.'s Diagnosis

Dr. James Andrews
I read an interesting article about sports injuries recently and it prompted a memory of a conversation with a teenager. I remember once telling one of my 8th Grade Youth that we didn't want our girls to play a sport more than one season at a time. He said, "Not if you want them to be any good!" He was playing spring baseball at the time, and basketball and football, and travel team baseball in the summer and fall. Whew, I got tired just writing that. That same kid grew to be godly young man, but when he graduated he quit baseball, burned out and beat up. He was fortunate in another way too for he never had to have surgery for his injuries. He was a pitcher and the wear on his shoulder got to be very intense.
If you are a parent or grandparent, I'd welcome your comments.
I fear that not enough people see like the good doctor does. Dr. James Andrews has a unique perspective on youth sports, he has the perspective of the knife that repairs their ligaments and tendons. His opinion is worth reading in the linked article. Dr. Andrews is a surgeon that is concerned due to the increase in operating on children and teens to repair adult pro athlete type injuries.The Dr.'s Diagnosis
Two aspects are leading to increases in youth aged injuries and through 14 years in youth ministry I visited enough hospital rooms to know that Specialization and Professionalism are both on the rise. Specialization is being involved with a single sport year round, increasing the risk of sport related injury due to over activity of the primary muscles and ligaments. Professionalism is involving kids at a very young age and trying to work and train them as if they are pro athletes. Both of these applied to children lead to greater risk of injury and burn out. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

School Motivation

Uh-Yeah.

While you are here: Do you know Jesus? I hope so and am praying that you do. 

 He loves you and died for your sins.  You can find out more here and get to know some great people who are not perfect, but celebrating forgiveness. 


Here's how you can know.
Look up these Bible references in the New Testament (2nd half of the Bible)
John 3:16
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23
Romans 10:9-10
Romans 5:8
1John 1:9

New rehab

This is my rehab now. Stairs. My old enemy!

I recommend ignoring the elevators at hospitals and parking garages.
Work it!

www.clarksonbaptist.org

Monday, February 25, 2013

Have you today?

As a Pastor, I'd like to know three things on Monday:
Have you really prayed today?
Has The Lord Jesus moved you - shaken you?
Have you spoken in His name boldly?

Oddly enough, I'm preaching to our folks about Confidence in Jesus and within 12 hours I'm hearing a message challenging me with the same things at the KBC Evangelism Conference.
You've heard this before, but life during the week matters. And Sunday fuels M-Sat. And many times we come back worn out on Sunday and needing strength and recharge.

Acts 4:29, 31
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:29, 31 NIV)

So have you? If not…
Pray.
Allow God to move you.
Speak boldly for Jesus.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hidden Sin...

As a Pastor, I have wondered what the effects of hidden sin are on a unsuspecting body of believers. Not long ago, I read Achan's story. Achan could tell us how secret sins affect the whole body. In the book of Joshua, Chapter 7, Achan's story of envy and deception is recorded. After the Lord guided Israel to win a battle, Achan kept some war spoils that the Lord had directed to be put in the Holy Treasury. Achan kept them for himself and buried them under his tent. The penalty was swift and just - a demonstration of the Old Testament vehemence of God's wrath. Because of Achan's sin Israel lost a battle - which should not have happened, and they weren't used to this at all; the Lord had been going before them and their enemies were falling like water. In the lost battle, 36 fighting men died and they had to retreat. Then Achan was found out and his whole family paid for his sin.

REAL LIFE FILE UPDATE: A man I know was updating his house, and he and a partner working with him experienced this. "He and I were taking up the plywood in the attic and he discovered under a board two magazines--a Playboy and a Penthouse! I bagged them up, tied two knots and he took them to a deep sinkhole on a farm where he stays!" Throw the sin far from you! Cast it out! Crucify it as Galatians 2:20 says. 

The prevailing thought by one engaged in sinful behavior is that my choices don't affect anyone else. Isn't it ironic how far we will go to keep sin in our lives? Hidden but still there. Under the illusion that we possess it, but all the while knowing, without admitting that Sin ends up POSSESSING US!

If we are honest, like C.S. Lewis has alluded to in several of his writings we must admit that we have... an intimate relationship with sin. I am a sinner. Sin nature is in me. It's in you too. People we know and love are sinners. This experience has led to a rediscovery that without boundaries or guardrails people will often go as far as we can with sin. However, if there are boundaries in place for safety and protection - it is hard to go too far. Without boundaries, (Godly, Parental, Community Laws) many will go as far as they can. I wonder how the lives of the previous owners and others in that home were affected by the sinful pornographic abuse? I'm sure that though the magazines were hidden, the affects of the sin were not hidden.

What is happening in homes near you now? Pray for them and look for opportunities to do more; to be accountability, or to physically walk through restoration with them. Because they need to know that their file of hidden sin, isn't "only affecting them?"
To be more personal - Is there hidden sin, "that is only affecting you?" Let's read it more personal, "Am I hiding sin, that is going to affect others in the future?"

Ephesians 5:11-13 says,
"11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
 13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light."

EXPOSE IT, ILLUMINATE IT, BRING IT OUT OF HIDING.
LIVE FOR JESUS TODAY!