Today’s post is not terribly original, but it is something that I am thinking about making a regular feature on the blog. Check back next month to see if it makes the cut. Now, without further adieu, some random thoughts that I had this month.
*When we read the New Testament, we find out that Jesus had brothers named James, Joses, Judas and Simon, as well as some unnamed sisters. Do you think that whenever Joseph and Mary called them down they asked, “Kids, what would Jesus do?”
*I really wanted to turn the above into a blog post, but I just couldn’t make it work.
*I hope you didn’t find that offensive. I worry sometimes that people find my sense of humor offensive. Especially if it is based on something out of the Bible.
*I read Sheldon’s In His Steps about 20 years ago. I thought it was a fine book. Funny, that about 100 years after it was written that the whole WWJD phenomenon happened with bracelets and T-shirts.
*I think Jesus’ brothers and sisters really loved Him. They were so concerned about Him they wanted to take him home from His ministry.
*I would really like to submit something to Jon Acuff and guest post one Friday on SCL. There’s just one problem. I’m just really not funny enough. At least I’m not when I write. I can’t do satire. Every time I try to write something like that all I can see are a lot of people getting really mad.
*I tried to write a couple of satiric pieces like Growing Up With Jesus and A Church For Bloggers. I just could not make these things work. So, I’m just going to quit trying to be intentionally funny. I can’t do it in a blog.
*My football Vols didn’t end the season well. I uttered indecipherable words when my Vols lost Saturday. Some people in my family might have thought I was speaking in tongues. I also went outside and took my frustrations out on a couple of basketballs.
*My BasketVols, however, are doing okay. They lost twice last week, to Duke and Memphis. However, I was proud of the effort that gave many of us who support the Big Orange.
*They lost again Monday night. I hate losing.
*One of the goals I have next year is to read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series. I’ve never actually read any of Lewis’ fiction. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have read The Screwtape Letters.
*I would really hate to have an artificial hip recalled.
*I am not the biggest Barack Obama fan, but should any President of the United States have a Chia in their likeness?
*Should there be a Larry the Deuce Chia?
*It looks like I’m really going to have to hold my nose when I vote in 2012.
*In 1 Samuel 25:25, in the King James, David says he will kill “all that pisseth against the wall.” When did that word become a not-so nice word and what has brought it back into social acceptability?
*This verse and my attitude about led to a huge disagreement between my wife and me once.
*I’m looking forward to the Townsend Christmas Parade Sunday. It’s one of the true community events in our little area. The Shriners should be there wearing their funny hats and driving their funny cars.
*I love the Christmas season.
*Tomorrow I will begin writing Christmas posts. I hope to have a two or three of my blogging friends do guest posts. So, if you don’t like Christmas, you won’t like the next 25 posts I write.
Do you have a random thought from November or have anything to add to those I listed?
If you are reading this to find out if we have settled on a church, I’m sorry to disappoint you. That is not what is going to happen today. What I am going to reveal are the results of my family and I discussing the past month of our church search. First of all, let me review for you what happened over the past month.
First, we visited a mega-church that is approximately 45 minutes away from our home. The preaching was verse by verse and the music was professional.
The next week we visited another mega-church at one of their satellite campuses. The music was live, but the preaching was broadcast from either the internet or DVD. I was not able to determine that.
On the third Sunday, we visited a traditional, SBC church with an energetic preacher for a pastor. We were able to watch several people be baptized during this visit.
This past Sunday we visited a church where the entire service lasted 1 hour 40 minutes. The preaching lasted approximately 50 minutes.
I created a simple spreadsheet on Sunday night. I listed each church and each member of our family. I asked each person to rank the churches. The church each person liked best received a score of 4 and proceeded down from there. I did this to quantify what I was hearing from my family. There are other factors going into our decision-making for our church search.
Church #1 received the highest score with 3.75. Three family members liked it best, with the other person ranking it second. However, this church does not make the final list due to distance factors. We feel that a 45 minute drive is too far for us to be active in a church like we would like to be.
Church #2 received the lowest score with a 1. Every family member ranked it last among the four. This is not to say that it is a “bad” church. It just did not “click” for us.
Church #3 came in third with a score of 2.375. One family member ranking it second, two ranking it third and one ranking it tied for second.
Church #4 came in second with a score of 2.875. One family member ranked it first, one second, one tied for second and one third.
So, where do we stand at this point? We have eliminated churches #1 and 2 from consideration. That leaves us with churches #3 and #4 to consider going forward. We will probably visit these two over the next four Sundays to further evaluate them. So, the process continues.
Please continue to pray for us as we prayerfully visit these churches. Don’t worry. We aren’t going to let a spreadsheet tell us where to go to church. That was an exercise that was fun and helped us look at our subjective feelings in an objective way. We are considering aspects about these churches and not just our subjective feelings. Most of all, we want to go to the church where we believe we can follow Christ, where He is glorified and we can serve Him.
****By the way, this is blog post number 200 for Deuceology. It’s really more than that, but I did delete posts some a few months ago. But this is the official 200th post. Thanks for reading. I would write this if you didn’t read, but you make it more fun****
Yesterday marked our fourth church visit this month. We visited four different churches on four different Sundays.
The church we visited is located in the downtown area of the nearest city outside of our local community. It is approximately a 25 minute drive, though our trip through Hardee’s slowed us down significantly.
The church is located in a former downtown business building. We were greeted by a gentleman who gave us bulletins, followed by one of the elders. He welcomed and told us a bit about the church.
*One item of note: We knew absolutely no one at this church as we visited yesterday.
We sat down and waited for the service. It began with a song calling the service to order. There was a singer/guitar player, two singers and a drummer. There appeared to be someone who would play a bass guitar who was not there. They were also accompanied by a piano player.
The elder who greeted us welcomed us all to the service and read from Psalm 119. From what I could tell, they have been opening with a reading from this Psalm for some time.
The singers/musicians then led us through about three or four songs that flowed together. The songs were focused on God and Christ. The lyrics were projected upon the wall for us to see while we were singing.
Two gentlemen then spent time in prayer. I’m not sure if they were elders or deacons. They included scripture in their prayers. I would estimate this time to be approximately 10 minutes.
The pastor began preaching and it was definitely not what we are used to. The sermon was about The Will of God. He preached from Ephesians, but packed an incredible amount of scripture into the sermon to flesh out his sermon. This sermon lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 55 minutes. This may sound rough, but I didn’t even realize how much time had passed.
We ended with a song and were dismissed. Coming from the tradition that we have participated in, we have always had an invitation. There was no invitation at the end of the service.
Following the service many more people came up to greet us. One gentleman whose small group was having lunch immediately after the service invited us to have lunch and attend their small group with them.
This first month of searching for a new church was interesting. Tomorrow I will give everyone our impressions of the four churches and how they rank with us.
Do you belong to a tribe? More than likely you do. More than likely, you belong to several of them.
You probably belong to a family tribe. You may belong to a tribe of friends. Perhaps you belong to a tribe of people who have a similar hobby or common interest. Maybe you belong to a tribe of people with a common faith.
What holds you and your tribe(s) together?
Is it the common interest? Is it the common faith? Is it a common purpose? Do you simply like each other? Is it common experience? What is it exactly?
My family and I are currently looking for a new faith tribe. We are looking for a new church home. I’m wondering what it is exactly that will make it “click” for us.
In some previous posts I tried to explain some things that I am looking for in a new church. While there are certain characteristics, I also think that there is a an X-Factor in this. I don’t believe it is simply an intellectual decision. I’m not sure how it works. I believe we pray and somehow the Holy Spirit guides us to where He wants us. So far we have visited three churches. We may visit three more. Or not.
This is what I do know. We are looking for a church home where we can do a few basic things. We can worship. We can serve. We can love. Everything else is pretty well rolled into those three.
Why do you belong to your faith tribe, your church?
We’re nearing the end of November and this is the last Saturday in the month, so this is the last roundup for November as well. I learned, I think, that blog reading takes a dip during holidays and Black Friday. However, thanks to all of you who regularly read this blog, November was the busiest month I’ve ever had. More blog traffic. More comments. I appreciate hearing from all of you.
The most viewed post this week was Church Visit #3. You guys seem genuinely interested in our search for a new church home. Church Visit #4 will occur tomorrow, so look for the report on Monday.
Drunk On What? proved to be a fairly busy post. I kind of liked that one, so I’m glad it was well received.
What’s upcoming on Deuceology? I’ll be finishing up the month of November, and then moving into Christmas themed posts for a while. I have a few written and I may dust off some from last year, rewriting and polishing them. I also hope to have a few guest posts from some of my blogging pals. I’ve got to get busy confirming this.
Today is the last day of the college football regular season, so I will be tense until about 3:30, hoping my University of Tennessee Volunteers can clinch a bowl bid. It’s been a tense year, with several of our top players being injured. I predicted an 8-4 season, which I stand by as a good prediction before the season started. Now, I’m hoping for 6-6.
See you tomorrow, same Deuceology channel, same Deuceology time.
What do you regret?
Perhaps it’s some behavior from when you were young.
Maybe it’s a relationship that has gone sour.
It could be something you did yesterday when you lost your cool.
No matter what, our regrets usually have to do with something that we wish that we could do over or change. It often has to do with something that we would like to have a do-over on. We made a mistake. We wish we had done something different.
What about God?
Did you know that God had regrets?
I’ve seen it before, but I noticed it again today as I was reading. Saul was the king God chose for Israel. Saul disobeyed God. What was God’s reaction? In 1 Samuel 15:35, it says that “the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I like to think that God is perfect. That He doesn’t make bad decisions like I do. That He doesn’t need a do-over. How can He regret something when He doesn’t make bad decisions?
I think this is because we look at God’s regret as we look at ours. We transfer how we look at regret and assume that God does the same.
How about if we looked at it this way?
If we look at this incident as this being God’s plan, could God’s regret in this matter be that He regrets that this is how it had to be? Might He regret that His plan had to include Saul as king. Might He regret with compassion when He looked at the effect His plan had on people?
We might approach this kind of regret. We might regret having to discipline our children, while knowing that we have to. Could God’s regret be that type of regret?
Or it could be like my daughter and her relationship with her boyfriend. Yesterday was their 16 month anniversary. Or as I like to call it, one day closer to them breaking up. I only say that jokingly, but chances are they will break up at some point. I will regret it when it does. Not that it happened, but the pain that she had to go through the pain of the breakup.
So, instead of transferring our normal idea of regret onto God, what if we looked at what we regret the way God would? What if we looked at everything that happens as part of what makes us who we are? What if we looked at everything, even our mistakes, as part of what God uses to make us who He wants us to be?
God gave Israel what it wanted. They wanted a king like all of the other nations. Israel suffered under Saul’s reign. God showed them what it was like to have a king like everyone else. Then He gave them a king who led to the King of Kings. Even what God regretted led to His perfect plan. What a God we have.
What regret do you have that has made you into who God wants you to be?
It’s Twitterific Thursday and it’s Thanksgiving. You probably know the drill by now. I write a post in 140 words, more or less.
Today is Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what I should write about today.
Should I write about all of the things that I am thankful for today? Christ, Salvation, Marriage, Children, Family, Health, Job and more?
Should it be that I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart?
Should it be about my prayer life and how I should not be anxious for anything, but by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving let my requests be made known to God?
What is the answer to what my blog post should be about today?
The answer is yes. Yes to all of these.
I am thankful for all of this and more. I need to strive to come to God with thanksgiving in my heart. I need to lay down any anxiety and trust Him through prayer.
How about you? What does Thanksgiving mean to you today?
Have you heard a word from the Lord lately? How about a vision? Have you received a vision of late?
Not me. I have heard nothing audible from the Lord. I have not received a vision of any sort, nothing like Isaiah received in Isaiah 6. Nope. Nothing. Not even a dream like Joseph interpreted that might be interpreted to save a nation.
How about you? Anything?
Probably not. It just doesn’t happen that often. I’ve never heard anything audibly from the Lord. I have never been swept up in a vision. I doubt if you have either. I am not saying that it can’t or won’t happen, but I do get pretty skeptical of people who have or that make it normative to the Christian experience.
Just like in the days of Samuel, they are rare and infrequent.
Now, I’m going to throw you for a loop.
I can get a word from the Lord anytime I want to.
My vision can be fueled at any point.
It’s just not that hard. It’s just that it’s not audible. It’s just that there aren’t many mystical visions.
Here’s how I think it happens. Here’s how I hear the Lord. Here’s how I get a vision from the Lord.
I open up my Bible. I read it. I study it. I meditate on it. I hear what He has said and He still speaks. I see the vision that God laid out for life through His Son. I can do it at anytime. All I have to do is look to His word.
A lot of people are sitting around waiting for a word from God and waiting for a big vision from Him.
These have become rare and infrequent.
They aren’t going to the source.
You want a word? You want a vision?
Open the word.
What do you think? Do you think audible words from the Lord and visions are common or rare and infrequent? Or do you trust in the word that He has given us?
When I was a kid, we didn’t go to the gas station. We went to the filling station. We would drive up. Someone would walk out and come to our window. My dad would say, “Fill ‘er up!!!” Sometimes, when I was lucky, I got to stick my thumb up and tell the attendant to fill the car up. It didn’t take much to thrill me when I was three and four years old.
Sunday I wrote about how avoiding getting drunk and being filled with the Holy Spirit can be accomplished by…..being filled with the Holy Spirit. That was a pretty circular way of saying that’s how you do it. I admit that. Today I want to tell you how I think you get filled by the Holy Spirit. This is the only way that I figure that you can really do this. Are you ready? It’s not a big secret. It’s right there in the Bible. It’s not in Ephesians where I was the other day. It’s a couple of letters over. Here it is.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you
That’s it. Straight out of Colossians 3:16. It’s that simple. It’s that hard. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you. How can I say that? How can I say that being filled with the Spirit happens through letting the word of Christ richly dwell within you. Look back at Ephesians for a second.
What happens when we are filled with the Spirit? There is speaking to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. There is singing and making melody in your heart. There is giving thanks for all things in the name of Christ. There is mutual submission.
What happens when the word of Christ richly dwell within you? There is teaching and admonishing each other with wisdom with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. There is singing with thankfulness in our hearts to God. Whatever you’re doing you do in the name of Christ and give thanks through him to the Father.
Now I may be wrong, but I think Paul was thinking the same things when he wrote both of those passages. I don’t think Paul saw any difference between being filled with the Holy Spirit and letting the word of Christ richly dwell within him.
So that’s my answer!!! How do I fill up on the Holy Spirit? I fill up on the word of God. I eat something that is more than bread. I drink from the fountain of living water. I am filled with the Holy Spirit.
Fill ‘er up!!!
What’s keeping you from being filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you letting the word of Christ richly dwell within you?
Yesterday we made our third visit in our church search. I know that everyone is eagerly awaiting to hear about it, so here goes.
In many ways this was a very traditional Southern Baptist Church (we have always been in SBC churches). It is an old school, “main” Baptist church of a town. I only say that to mean that it has been a leader in much of the spiritual direction of the city and fought many fights over issues important to that community in the past.
One of the neatest things about going to this church today was that we were able to witness baptisms to start the service. Four people of various ages were baptized. I took it that the gentleman doing most of the baptizing was someone on the pastoral staff, but I never figured out who he was exactly.
The music would be described as a blend of contemporary and traditional. Several people were on stage playing various instruments. A choir backing a praise group led the singing part of the service.
The pastor preached without the aid of a pulpit. I’m not sure if that is normal or was because children did a couple of special musical numbers. I was mildly surprised that he wore a sweater and some pants instead of a suit.
As a point of interest, my children have been attending youth events with this church for about a year. My daughter’s boyfriend and family attend this church. So there is a connection there.
As a bonus, our community had its annual Thanksgiving service tonight. It was held at our former church that we left three months or so ago. It was rather awkward at first, but there were more people from the other churches in the community than this one.
It was an interesting day. Not only was this the third Sunday we have been back to church, but the first time we have been to church twice on a Sunday in quite some time.
Next week we will visit the final church in our initial list of four. At that point we will decide if we want to revisit any of these and decide if we want to add any others.