Keeping the weeks of Advent is one way to keep Christ in Christmas. The school Christmas program may not include hymns that mention the birth of Jesus and local city ordinances may prohibit a public display of a live nativity. Maybe these are things you can do something about, maybe not. What we can and should do is read the scriptures and sing the hymns in our homes and in our churches that put the focus of Christmas squarely where it belongs. It is ultimately my responsibility to make sure that my child learns about the true meaning of Christmas and not the public school system, Charlie Brown, the Hallmark Channel or other thing. Advent is a season of preparation that gets us ready to celebrate the incarnation. Read more here if Advent is new to you or something you might be interested in learning more about.Continue reading
This was not a good week for Buffalo Wild Wings. Ryan Baldera, age 32, died as a result of chemical exposure after two cleaners were mixed together in Burlington, Massachusetts. Another eight employees and two customers were treated at a local hospital. Earlier in the week at a location in Illinois, a large party was asked to move to another section of the restaurant because a “regular customer” came in that was racist and did not want to sit “next to black people.” All the employees involved in the incident have been let go and the customer has been banned for life from all Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants. Continue reading
The Christian Index, our Georgia Baptist newspaper, has an article today about Heritage Baptist Church. The reconstruction at Notre Dame is being followed around the world; Heritage is local to my home town of Calhoun, GA. Heritage Baptist is an active partner in the Gordon Memorial Baptist Association. I may have not mentioned it on this blog but friends IRL and on Facebook know that the sudden and expected death of Brent Davis rattled me a bit. Continue reading
I thought we would begin this week with a picture of Steve Hartman, back when he was the pastor of Windsor Spring Baptist Church in Hephzibah, GA. Hephzibah was the wife of Hezekiah in 2nd Kings 21. Hephzibah, GA, is a suburb of Augusta near the Georgia-South Carolina state line. Oh yeah, the other people pictured above are Teresa and I who celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary yesterday. ❤ Continue reading
It has been a long time since I tried to put together a link list but I want to share just a couple. The first is about pastoral candidates. When Bobby Braswell is asked “Could this candidate be your pastor?” he may be willing to consider candidates you would not. His pastor doesn’t have to be young and good looking, for example. Churches often hire pastors that look like the church members they hope to attract. Then the mostly older folks that make up the church will not let him do the things the church needs to do to bring in and/or retain those 20 or 30 somethings with kids. That’s just one example. Check out Could This Candidate be Your Pastor at The Christian Index.
This one is a lot of fun, I thought about saving it for Saturday. Rhyne Putman was invited to preach at a KJV only church as a seminary student 15 years ago. He read from the wrong translation but that’s only one facet of this “bed time story” he shares. It’s a long thread of Tweets but worth your time. Click the tweet below.
It was somewhat expected by those in the know that J.D. Greear would be elected to serve as SBC President at the annual meeting in Dallas this week. I was still somewhat surprised by the 68% of ballots he received from messengers. While many were pleased with the announcement the reactions ranged from “Thank God” to talk of the downward spiral the SBC has been on for years. While I would make a good 3 1/2 point Calvinist at best I am going out on a limb and saying this choice will not seal our fate. Greear’s election is not the final nor any other nail in the coffin. Continue reading
Here is an article from The Christian Index on the Convention’s decision to repudiate the Confederate Flag. The Index also posted an editorial by Gerald Harris and my comments to that link on Facebook got a little lengthy. Nearly blog post in length. So, below is my take on the SBC resolution. By all means you are entitled to your opinion; mine is framed on the notion the Gospel is more dear to the heart of Christians than heritage, history, culture or national identity. The end game of all believers should be unity in Christ.
I have lived in Georgia most of my life (and in Kentucky the other years). I have always been a little leary of flying that flag. I understand my heritage, the nation’s history, and the origin story of the SBC. On this issue I land here: If you want to fly the flag on your front porch or on your personal vehicle, this is still a free country and you have every right. Shame on anyone that would desecrate or remove your flag regardless of ideology. But I think it is entirely fitting for our denomination, all our churches together with one voice, to say “WE no longer fly this flag.”
If I display the Confederate flag in support of history and heritage, it may be misunderstand as racism. Indeed some do fly that flag because they are racist, believing if the South would have won we’d have it made, and signifying certain individuals need to “know their place.” At the risk of being misunderstood, I do not fly that flag. In the shadow of the cross, there are no flags, no nations, no skin colors or any other thing that divides or distinguishes. We are covered by the blood. I am disheartened that some will choose the stars and bars of rebellion (it is the rebel flag we are talking about) rather than unity with fellow brothers and sisters, but such is the world we live in.
Not as many links for this post as I’d like but think these are certainly worth sharing. Click any image to read the related article at its source.
The first is a list of reasons Thom Rainer thinks we should reconsider keeping the old fashion church bulletin. It’s all about making guests feel welcome which may bring them back.
- Worship times. Many bulletins are retained for future use. It is thus imperative for the worship times to be prominent in them.
- Physical address of church. You want to encourage the guest to return, so include the physical address of the church for their GPS.
- Website and social media links. This is a primary means of communication for our culture. Your church must be speaking that language, and guests need to know where to find you online.