Yesterday the Gideons showed up at my church. Actually, not all of them were there. Only one of them was there.
This reminded me of when I was in the 5th grade at Alpha Elementary in Morristown, TN. The Gideons were allowed to come into schools then. Each of us were presented with a New Testament. I’m not sure where that Testament is today, but I still remember it to this day.
Most of us are most familiar with the Gideons through the Bibles they place in hotel and motel rooms throughout the country. I wonder how many people have read those Bibles through the years and how many lives have changed because of it.
One of the funnier stories that this particular Gideon told was how one man did not want the Bible presented to him. He threw it across the street onto the roof of a building. It struck a man in the head who was contemplating jumping and committing suicide. He had just asked God to stop him if he didn’t want him to die that day. That man’s life was dramatically changed and today he works in a ministry.
The thing I like most about the Gideons is their commitment to God’s word and their ministry. We could all stand to be as dedicated as the Gideons.
Were you ever presented with a New Testament from the Gideons? Do you know any other stories of what the Gideons have done to further the kingdom of God?
I am not a NASCAR fan. I turn races on and watch a few laps almost every week, but I do not watch entire races. I know who wins the races and usually know where they are racing.
However, there are a few things about NASCAR that I am fascinated with. I love the teamwork and how it takes the entire team to perform. A NASCAR win is something that you can rarely attribute to one individual.
This week it was announced that Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN, would make changes to their progressive banking. In other words, they are going to flatten the track a little bit.
Perhaps it’s been the economy or perhaps it’s been the track changes. Whatever the reason, attendance has been dwindling since the changes Bristol made to its track in 2007.
The owner, Bruton Smith, could have been stubborn and stuck with his changes. Give him credit. He decided to make changes based on feedback from the fans. He wants to give them what they want.
We can learn a lesson there, can’t we?
We, as individuals, cannot afford to remain the same. We must be willing to change. We must be willing to grow and adapt. I’m not suggesting changing our values. However, there are times that we just have to stop what doesn’t work and move on to something better.
It’s the same with our churches. I’m not saying go with every passing fad or fancy. I don’t mean compromise the Gospel. But we can’t really sit back and do church like it was done in the 50′s, 60′s, or even the 80′s or 90′s. Church then was even done like it was 100, 500 or 1,000 years ago.
We can’t be afraid of making changes because “we’ve always done it that way” because it hasn’t always been done that way. Take a chance. Take a look at what needs to be changed. And change it.
What needs to be changed in your life or in your church?
For the past few weeks, I have been highlighting other blogs. Not today. I have had such a wild, busy week that I just haven’t had the time to focus on other blogs. Today, I just want to give a little preview of what will be happening over the week or so here at Deuceology.
I am quickly nearing the end of the first year of this blog. This is momentous. I have had two other blogs and neither one of them consistently had posts everyday. Except for one week, Deuceology has had at least one post everyday for the past year.
I will be doing the obligatory year in review. It was certainly an interesting year at some points.
I will have a post where I need your help. I will ask three questions. If you have never commented before, I would love for you to comment on this one.
I plan to do my best David Letterman and have a top 10 list. I may call that one Deuceology Greatest Hits Volume 1. Or maybe I won’t.
I may list out my favorite posts of the past year.
That’s what’s coming up here at Deuceology over the next week.
What do you have planned for you blog? If you aren’t a blogger, what project or event are you planning?
Recently I read how a church had a huge number of decisions made over a certain weekend. It seems that there was a lot of praising to the Lord over this. I held back a little. I think a little differently. Maybe a lot. This is what I was thinking.
I wonder how many disciples were made among those decisions?
The Great Commission tells us to make disciples. We are to do this by going, baptizing and teaching.
Jesus says nothing about going out making decisions.
I know that people will say that you can’t have a disciple without first having a decision. I understand that.
I just wonder how many of those decisions will result in people who are really disciples? How many made a decision to buy fire insurance and not a lifestyle of following Jesus? How many of those decisions really changed their lives?
What I’m saying is that anyone can make a decision to come to Christ. Fewer are really made into disciples.
I would rather have a much smaller number of people who have been made disciples than a large number of people who made decisions.
I didn’t voice this to down those who were excited over the decisions. I don’t want to be a killjoy. I have to wonder, though. How many of those decisions will result in true disciples? Most of us will never know.
Are you making disciples? Or are you making decisions?
Someone wrote Facebook status the other day. It said something like this: Sometimes an accident happens. Then it turns out good. Was it really an accident?
I could answer what I believe about that with one word, but then you might feel cheated by a short blog post and I want you to get your money’s worth.
Many years ago, as detailed in the book of Genesis, Joseph was thrown in a pit. Then he was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt. From there, he ended up second-in-command of Egypt. His brothers, who sold him into slavery, came to him looking for food when there was a terrible drought.
Eventually, he revealed himself to them. The brothers were afraid that he would take revenge upon them. He eventually told them, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”
What perspective and maturity. What trust in the sovereignty of God.
How would Joseph answer the question I led with?
Yes, from our perspective, accidents happen. Events seem random. Oopsies occur.
From God’s perspective, randomness does not happen. He is not surprised. He is not caught off-guard. Nothing is an accident to Him.
I truly believe that everything that happens fits into the course God has decided will occur. Do I fully understand that? Absolutely not. Too many things happen that I do not understand. I simply trust. I trust He has the ending decided. Everything points to that. He has it all under control.
We may see an accident. Good may come out of it.
We may mean something for evil. God, somehow, means it for good.
Do you believe that “accidents” happen? Do you believe God is in control?
I was reading a blog post the other day. As I glanced through the comments, the author stated that she is good at making sure of subject/verb agreement.
I have to admit that I am not good at this. In fact, I don’t even think about it. However, that comment got me to thinking about the stories that we are living and that many of us are telling.
Are our subjects agreeing with our verbs.
Not in our grammar. Not in our speech. Not in our blog posts or eBooks or anything else we are writing.
I’m talking about our lives.
What I mean is if who we say we are, our SUBJECT, agrees with what we do, our VERB.
Another way of saying it is are we living our values.
Does what we say we believe match up with how we’re living?
Do you know what your values are? Have you given that any thought?
I’m going through this exercise rather slowly. I have my main values written down. These are my core values that are most important to me. I have a couple I think are and I’m slowly deciding if I really believe them.
In other words, I am deciding what my subject, ME, believes, VERB.
How about you? Do you know what you believe? Does it match with what you do?
You have had those days.
Perhaps it’s even been for an entire season of life.
The storms are howling.
The ship is being buffeted by the waves. You’re being tossed around from side to side.
Life is crashing in on you. You are being smothered.
Like Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, you’re a sinner in the hand of an angry God.
An angry God’s hand of justice.
You are hanging by a thread.
Except for that same angry God.
He knows that you can’t hang on.
He knows you can’t make it on your own.
He sends another hand.
His strong right hand.
It’s the hand of grace.
The hand of His Son.
His hand takes you out of the angry hand.
His hand places you beside Him.
You’re hanging no more.
Are you hanging by a thread?
Baptisms are some of my favorite services. Yesterday I got to witness three children baptized at my church. The joy of seeing these three publicly confess Christ coupled with the joy of seeing the happiness of their parents was wonderful. Nothing else needs to be said about yesterday’s church services.
How was your church service?
Two weeks from today, I begin an annual adventure. It’s something that I have been doing now for (wow!) ten years. It will last six months and then I will be return to normalcy (whatever that it) for six months. Then I will be back at it.
What is it? Glad you asked.
I will be spending my Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. at Big Meadow Campground. I do this as a ministry through our local Baptist association called CHARM.
I’ve been doing campground ministry for about 13 or 14 years. I’m not sure which. It’s been most of both of my children’s lives. I’ve doing it so long that I even include them. Here’s how it goes.
On Saturday evening, we will go pass out fliers inviting the campers to come to the Sunday morning service. This campground has people who have been coming there longer than I have and many stay for weeks at a time. Passing out fliers is often like a family reunion. The only problem is that food isn’t involved, which makes all of the grilling smell even better.
On Sunday morning, I arrive a bit before 9 and greet everyone as they arrive. Some Sundays I might have six people. Another I might have 35. Usually it’s somewhere in between. If I didn’t see someone the night before, I will get to spend a little time with them and catch up on what’s been going on since the end of October.
I used to stick my finger in the wind each week to determine what I would preach about. Now, I do it a bit differently. This will be my fourth summer preaching from the gospel of John. I will be starting in chapter 16. The first year I preached through 5 chapters. The second four. I hope to manager better than three chapters this year.
Lord willing, we will have another outstanding year. Pray for me each week, specifically each Sunday at 9 eastern time.
What ministries are you involved in within and outside your church?
A Mississippian, Arkansan and Canadian walk into a bar…….
I know that would probably be the worst joke in the world. However, it might be one of the funniest nights ever if it happened. At least it might if the three bloggers I highlight today were the above mentioned folks.
Tyler Tarver is a math teacher in Arkansas. He also operates one of the funniest blogs on the interwebs. For some reason, I gravitate toward humor blogs, which is the opposite of what I write. This is one I’m glad to have found.
Joseph Craven is the Mississippian of the bunch. He writes at the greatest blog of all time. Just ask him. You can find him at TheGBoat.net. I’m new to checking his blog out, but I haven’t been disappointed yet.
Next up is someone very familiar with Mr. Craven. Her name is Amanda and she blogs here. She and Mr. Craven date. Not sure how you really do that from Mississippi and Canada. I could never manage dating someone who lived more than an hour away. Mandie, or Amanda as some call her, wants to be the world’s first sit-down comedian. That alone makes me like her.
Check out these folks’ blogs. I promise you will enjoy them. Ok, maybe I can’t promise that, but I think you will.