Archive for September, 2012

Jesus Is In Charge

September 23, 2012 1 comment

Imagine for a moment that someone came along and told you about your death.  They didn’t tell you when or where.  However, they do give you a hint on the manner in which you will die.  How would you like that?

Jesus does this for Peter in the closing verses the gospel of John.

Jesus told Peter that he would be executed when he grew older.  John goes on to say that this death would glorify God.  Then Jesus says something else.

“Follow me!”

Would you follow Him?  Knowing that you would follow Jesus, grow old and be executed, would you follow Jesus?  Does Jesus mean that much to you?  Being your Lord and Savior, would you follow Him to death?  Because that could happen to you or me.  We could be executed through following Him the rest of our lives.  If you knew following Him would lead to your death, would you follow Him?

John continues with Peter asking about John’s death.  Jesus basically tells Peter that it’s none of his business.  He tells Peter that if He wants John to live until He returns, what’s that to Peter.  He simply wants Peter to follow Him.

Isn’t that what Jesus wants from all of us?

Follow Him.

Follow Him if it leads to death.

Follow Him if we remain alive.

Follow Him, no matter what.

Jesus is in charge

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , , ,

Resignation, Part 3

September 22, 2012 Leave a comment

This is a work of fiction.  You can read  Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

June looked at the clock.  She would have to leave for church in a just a few minutes.  Normally she would be excited about meeting with her church family.  Today was different.  Her pastor and friend would soon be leaving.

June had been through it over the past few years.  Cancer  had struck about a year into Donald’s ministry in the church.  Since June had no family, Donald and Laura had been there through it all.  Laura had gone with her to the doctor appointments.  Both Donald and Laura had sat there during the surgery and helped her home.  Then they had gone with her to the treatments.  Through it all, they had become more than friends.  They had become like family.

June had been there over the last year for Laura.  She had listened when Paul had written his blog posts.  She had been there when Bill and his “gang” had started going to Donald.  Laura had cried on her shoulder more times than she cared to remember over the hard time this group was giving Donald.  She had know it was just a matter of time before they wore Donald down.  It had happened before, so there was not reason for her to think it wouldn’t happen again.

June looked at the clock again.  It was time to go to Sunday school.  She locked the door and walked to her car.  It felt like this would be the longest five-minute car ride to church in her life.

June pulled into the parking lot just like normal.  She saw Doug and Billie and waved.  Doug went on to his class while Billie stopped to wait.  Billie greeted her with hug and they walked on to their ladies class.  They entered the room and sat in “their” seats.

The ladies spent the first few minutes catching up over the last week.  More than a little gossip was exchanged.  After a while, they shared prayer requests.  Everyone was concerned about June.  June could not share her main worry at the moment.    Finally, Billie led them in prayer.

Billie taught the lesson she had prepared.  June was normally engaged in the lesson and sharing her thoughts.  Today, she could not concentrate on what anyone was saying.  She was focused more on Donald and Laura as she prayed for them the entire time.

Finally, the bell rung.  Sunday school was over.  The ladies talked and laughed some more as they walked to the worship service.  June held behind and walked alone.  The moment she dreaded was almost here.

Categories: Fiction Tags: ,

A Good Work

September 21, 2012 1 comment

If you met me in person, you would probably think I’m quiet, confident with an odd sense of humor.  You would probably think I’ve got my “stuff” together.

I actually have had plenty of anxiety in my life.  I’ve wondered for much of my life if I measured up.  For a good chunk of my life, I’ve wondered if I’m good enough.

All of that comes from a lie.

Paul writes that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Think about that.  God began a work in you.  This work will continue until Christ returns.  And think about this.  It’s not just any work.

This work is good.

God is performing a good work in you.  He won’t stop until the job is complete.

Think back to Creation.  I’ve mentioned it before.  At the end of each day, what does God see?  Good.

When God works, it’s good.

You come to know Christ.  A work begins.  You become a new what?  Creation.  Guess what?

It’s good.

If you know Christ as your savior, you have no reason to be anxious about whether you measure up or are good enough.  God is at work in your life and He’s not stopping until He looks at you and sees that you are GOOD.  Quit wallowing in the mire.

If you don’t know Christ, come to know Him and let Him begin this good work in you.

What is good work is God doing in your life?

Categories: Christianity, Faith

Livin’ On A Prayer

September 20, 2012 5 comments

It was announced this week that the Freedom From Religion Foundation had sent a letter to the University of Tennessee advising them to cease and desist praying before their sporting events.  When I first heard this, I expected UT to immediately comply with this group and drop prayer for a moment of silence.

I began my plan of action.

I thought about beginning a Facebook page encouraging the person leading the moment of silence to sneeze and 90 to 100,000 to reply, “God Bless You!!!”

If that didn’t work I thought about leading the entire stadium in the Lord’s Prayer during the moment of silence.

I thought what better way to protest this denial of years of tradition at our football games.

Instead, here’s what happened.

The University of Tennessee sent a letter to the foundation stating that after consulting with their legal team that having prayer before the games did not violate the constitution.  Therefore, the prayers would continue before any events they are currently held at.

Depending on your viewpoint, you and I may disagree on whether or not this should happen.  That’s fine.  That’s not the real point of this post.

The point, that I tried to highlight in a very tongue in cheek way, was that I didn’t have any faith that what I wished to happen really would.  I was cynical that prayer would remain at the games I attend.

I gave up.

And I was surprised by the results.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation may very well eventually get their way.  They may go to court and manage to have prayer stopped before our games.

What they cannot stop is prayer.  Anyone that wants to can continue to pray in basically any form they want.  There is nothing they can do to stop that.

Now, if we could only get them to do something about the Pride of the Southland Band playing Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer multiple times every Saturday.

What do you think about the University of Tennessee’s stance?

Just Wondering

September 19, 2012 8 comments

I sat around today and wondered a few things yesterday.

I wondered about us joining churches when we cannot join the Church.

I wondered about how to give our money in ways that help widows and orphans and those that need justice and mercy.

I wondered about having fellowship instead of fellowships.

I wondered about us praying instead having  a prayer meeting.

I wondered about us devoting ourselves to the apostle’s teachings more than other teachings.

I wondered about us breaking bread together instead of just breaking bread.

I was just wondering…..

The @SeekingPastor Interview

September 18, 2012 7 comments

Today I have the privilege of sharing an interview that I conducted with Matt Cannon.  Matt is a blogging legend, 6’7′ former basketball player and pastor.  He hasn’t written for his blog in a while.  If you’ve missed his writings, he tells you why he has slowed down below.

Whenever I see Matt’s number show up on my phone, I know he must be visiting Cades Cove, which is near the little area I live in.  We haven’t seen each other in a while, and based on his schedule that I glean from this interview, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.  Matt, is a busy guy.  I appreciate him spending some time answering these questions and hope that you enjoy.

Matt, besides Jon Acuff, who happens to be my best friend, you may be the only blogger that I personally know. Would you care to tell everyone how we know each other?

On a dark, dreary Monday morning in 1999 I began working at the same company you still work for and was placed under your leadership and tutelage. As I began my employment there, you were charged with teaching me everything you know; it was the longest 15 minutes of my life.

In other words, I worked for a few years at the same company you work for and you were my supervisor for about a year. We became “friends” there.

If I ever had the opportunity to introduce you to an audience of 1,000 people, what is the one thing I would be guaranteed to say about you?

You would tell them about the time I nearly decapitated myself on a bathroom stall coat-hook at work and how you had to drive me to the hospital in a truck that was roughly the size of a small lunch box.

How did you begin your blogging career?

I had the opportunity to write a monthly column in the Knoxville News Sentinel for a year starting in 2007. While doing this I realized how much I enjoy writing which led me to begin blogging.

How would you say that you have changed in your blogging style and voice?

My original style and voice was basically nonexistent. I had no focus; I had no real style. Over time my style/voice/whatever sort of just came from my personality. While I haven’t written much in recent months, I guess my style/voice could be described as a humor-infused spirituality with occasional forays into poetry.

You haven’t been blogging as much lately as you used to. Have you run out of things to say?

No; I’ve ran out of time for right now though I am trying to rectify this. I am a full-time pastor, a father of 5 young children, a husband who is trying to do it right, and a seminary student. Also, some of the time I formerly used as writing time has become walking time in order for me to lose weight and become healthier.
You were in the Blogging All-Stars last year. How did that turn out for you?
Jon Acuff’s “Tweet Heard Round the World” (or JATHRTW) ruined my life.That’s all I can say about it without putting a hole through my laptop.
You are actually the person that encouraged me to begin blogging. How does it feel to get some credit for the awesomeness of Deuceology?
Completely unfulfilling.
How much of an influence has Weird Al Yankovic been on your life and your writing?
Weird Al’s music definitely helped form and encourage my strange sense of humor. If only I had his accordion playing skill then my life would be complete.
You have spent most of your adult life as a bi-vocational pastor. Now you are full-time. How would you describe the differences between the two, besides the fact that you don’t work a secular job? What adjustments have you had to make?
Being full-time affords me much more time to counsel people and visit people who are hospitalized. It also gives me more time in sermon preparation and seeking a vision for our church’s future from the Lord. Those are really the main adjustments. I have also found that being bi-vocational for so long taught me some very valuable time management lessons that I still use.
Your wife just recently graduated and the ceremony was conducted in a rodeo barn. Is there anything else to say about that?
Other than the rodeo clowns getting in the way and some of the students being gored to death, I would say that it was a rousing success.

Thanks Matt!!! What questions did you have for Matt that went unanswered?

First Church Year #35: Family Reunion

September 17, 2012 2 comments

For the second week in a row, I did not make it to church.  This week we had an annual family reunion of Jan’s to attend.  So, I want to take this opportunity to talk about church in general.

Family reunions are funny things in that people just sort of come and go as they please.  Sure, there is a time that is set.  Some have to get there to kick the thing off, but from there people just kind show up and leave on their own schedule.  Usually everyone brings a dish.  Everyone just kind of wanders around and visits for a while until it is finally time to eat.  Once the meal is over, people wander around some more and visit.  There may be all sorts of activity.  Kids may play ball.  A group may get together and sing.  Someone may sit in a rocking chair and nap.  There are all sorts things going on.

The Church is a family.  Should it be more like a family reunion?

Everyone bring a dish and share a meal regularly?

Groups just spending time together singing in a spontaneous way?

Kids being kids in life of the church?

People wandering around visiting and loving each other?

Fill in the blanks with whatever else you can think of.

Should our churches be like family reunions on a weekly basis?