A Bible Story, pt. 2

20200124_081306When I showed my mother the new Bible I got for Christmas (part 1 if you haven’t read it) she mentioned needed a new Bible. Mom still carries the same Bible that Dad gave her back in the late 1980’s. She keeps it in a cover which may have been replaced a time or two. The Bible inside is over 30 years old and has pictures, newspaper clippings and notes from grandkids stuck in between the pages here and there. She wanted to know if my new Bible was a “real Bible” or something else. I knew exactly what she meant. That comes from spending a lifetime with a KJV only husband/preacher.

I mentioned yesterday having a shelf full of Bibles. Many of those are KJV including the Bible I was given by Sammy Allen (local Gordon County residents will recognize that name) on June 19, 1988. It was the first night of Jubilee at Maranatha Baptist Church and “Brother Sammy” was there to kick it off. I was saved that night at the age and 12 and he had several Thomas Nelson KJV Bibles with him for sale. He handed one and told me I could have it on the condition that I read it. I carried that Bible through middle school, high school and college, retiring it from service only when A.J. Waters and the House of Prayer presented me with a new Scofield Reference Bible as a college graduation present.

A full bookcase is a fine thing for a library, office or pastor’s study. But half a dozen Bibles arranged neatly on a shelf and never being read is an impractical waste. When Mom said she needed another Bible I knew I had quite a few on a shelf not being read. That KJV from Thomas Nelson started out with a red leather cover that faded to pink over time and eventually to whatever washed out color it is now. I read it all the way through more than once over the years; I taught Sunday school from it in the early 90’s and was preaching from it when I announced a call to the ministry. But I’ve had a few Bibles since then. If Mom needed a Bible to read, why keep that one in a museum collection? I did the right thing and took her to my office. We looked at Dad’s giant Scofield which is too big to carry anywhere (even though he did). I showed her my grandfather’s Bible and a couple of others. But I knew ahead of time which one I was giving her.

A Bible Story, pt. 1

I was ordained as a minister at Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Silver Creek, GA back in March of 2004. My pastor at the time, Mike Jones, had already asked me what version of the Bible I would like to receive at the ordination service. We were new to full time ministry, serving as state missionaries in Kentucky, and I had recently been introduced to the English Standard Version (ESV) by Michael Spencer. Mike Jones presented me with a thinline ESV, bound in black, which I carried on a regular basis for the next nine years in Kentucky. I preached from it in chapel, led BCM, taught Sunday and preached as pulpit supply as well as reading through it from cover to cover a few times. We “came home” in 2012 and visited a few churches before joining Trinity in Calhoun, where I was soon active in Sunday School, helping with church youth, preaching on a regular basis and eventually leading men’s ministry (still referred to as Brotherhood in some areas). After 15 years of regular use my trusty Thinline was looking worse for wear, the spine held together with some very distinguished looking black duct tape if I say so myself. Continue reading

Paperless Hymnal

This is a follow up to Dumping the Screen is Not the Answer. If you have not read that post please click here (before or after reading this post).

Screenshot 2020-01-22 at 4.49.30 PMWhen I wrote about how screens are not the problem with worship I used an image from The Paperless Hymnal. I’m going to share a link to their website with the understanding that 1) I have not purchased or used their products and 2) this is not a paid endorsement. I like the idea of having the words and music projected onto the screen for all those people that miss being able to read the music and follow along during worship.

A big screen is merely a vehicle to deliver information. If the information is creating a problem with your worship service, you need to project something else. If your old hymnal was a theology textbook, and your millennial praise and worship leader keeps giving you mind numbing repetitive choruses, the problem is not that projection ruined your worship experience. Screens and neither good nor bad, neither is a hymn book good or bad. If you want to sing congregational hymns steeped in good theology it shouldn’t be a problem, with or without physical hymnals. You may have a problem getting it past your church leadership but that’s another issue entirely.

Dumping the Screen is Not the Answer

I see memes on Facebook that say things like “Throw the screen in the trash.” My friends share links to competing articles promoting the virtues of digital projection and also what we lost when we stop using hymnals. I don’t think we have correctly identified the problem. Continue reading

Satur-deja Vu

Screenshot 2019-07-31 at 9.10.50 AM

Seeing is no longer believing. I know that used to be true. Today anyone can make a fake sign and even real news articles sometimes have misleading headlines when you see them on social media. Sometimes satire websites, such as Empire News or the Christian site Babylon Bee, publish articles that are confused for real news and then get shared without the disclaimers. Take everything with a grain of salt unless you can verify through multiple sources. “If knowledge is power, then the internet is filled with completely useless power.” -Abraham Lincoln Continue reading

The Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Screenshot 2019-12-31 at 11.11.21 AMThis morning at church I preached a rare topical sermon. I wanted to point out two things, first that all expositional sermons have a topic and secondly that even when offering a topical sermon I do so in an expositional manner.

What I really said – or tried to say, perhaps almost said – was that I would deliver a topical sermon in an exponential manner. Exponents, you know from math class. If the sermon multiplied exponentially that would mean the longer I preached the more of it there would left to preach. It would never end. Not what a congregation wants to hear at 11:30 on Sunday morning.

You can listen to the Never Ending Sermon at the Unity Baptist website. Don’t worry, the actual run time is only 36 minutes. There should be a link in left-hand sidebar to Storms of Life. This funny moment brought to you by a tongue tied preacher. Writing can be edited; live and in person just happens.

Satur-deja Vu

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Most of the country either has been or will be affected by this weather system. In the South that means heavy rain, thunderstorms and a few tornados, further north snow and ice. Stay safe, check on your neighbors, we hope to see everyone back next week. Continue reading