Monday, December 13, 2010


I love Christmas carols. One of my favorites, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", has an intriguing history. The song was written by Charles Wesley and published by George Whitefield, two men who disagreed at several points but agreed at the most important - that every person should hear the message of the Savior.

The song is sung to a tune originally composed to celebrate the work of Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type. He is probably best known for his publication of the scripture, often called Gutenberg's Bible. This publication allowed many to own a copy of the scripture who could not have afforded it in the days before Gutenberg's work.

Isn't it interesting that this song, written and published by two men who dedicated their lives to sharing God's word, sung to a tune about a man who's invention allowed millions to read God's word, is now sung the world over to remind us of the night when the angels announced that the Word of God had come into the world.

And I have told you this on the internet, an invention that allows anyone with a computer to share their testimony to the power of God's word with people around the globe. Amazing! Truly we have reason to celebrate this Christmas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Season

I heard a story about a nine-year-old boy who was asked to give the prayer for his family’s Thanksgiving meal. As everyone bowed their heads, the young boy began to pray, “Thank you, God, for Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Uncle Fred, Aunt Judy...” continuing until he had named everyone at the table. Then he began to give thanks for the food, “Thank you for the turkey, for the dressing, for the potatoes, for the pickle relish, for the ice tea....” For a moment the boy paused. Everyone squirmed wondering if he had forgotten to end his prayer. After an awkward moment of silence, the boy concluded, “And thank you for whatever is under that foil. Amen.”

We often thank God for what we can see, but we need to thank him for the unseen blessings as well. God is at work in our lives, even when we are unaware of it. Remember to thank God this week for whatever is under that foil.

Romans 11:33 (NIV)
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Make an Impact on Sunday, Sept. 26

We have our third Servant Sunday, September 26. We plan to take an army of folks to Watkins Elementary, our partner school, to paint and spruce up the grounds for the new school year. On Monday morning, September 27, Watkins students will walk in the door of their school and see a new, welcoming environment. They will wonder, “What happened here? Who did this for me and my friends?” Some of them have never experienced Christ’s love in their lives. They have been told again and again that no one cares about them. Monday, September 27, they will know differently. They will know the people of National Heights Baptist Church cared enough about them to make their school a better place to learn. More important, they will know that, even in the midst of the challenges they face in their homes and neighborhoods, God has not forgotten them. He loves them and cares for them. Your tangible expression of God’s love may very well be the starting point in directing children and families to the love of Christ. Join us Sunday, September 26 at Watkins to visibly express Christ to our community.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Western Wear

We recently returned from a mission trip to Wyoming. The average high was in the mid-80's with 20% humidity. Back in Springfield, they were sweltering with temperatures in the upper 90's and humidity in the 85-90% range. Quite a difference. Wyoming is a place of great contrasts; the mountains right up against desert lands, the crystal blue sky meeting the brown sagebrush; antelopes grazing in fields of dirt and rock. We had a great time serving alongside North American Mission Board missionaries Drew and Pam Crabtree. Their love for the Lord contrasted with the harsh region. They travel hundreds of miles each week to take the love of Christ to workers on the oil fields, sharing God's love in beautiful ways. Pray for them as they continue this marvelous work. You can read more about our mission to Wyoming at

Monday, July 12, 2010


We had rain last night, almost four inches in Springfield, from what I understand. We had about that much in one of our Sunday School classrooms. We are still trying to figure out what happened, but we think the gutter system was overwhelmed with the amount of rain, pushing the water underneath the roof and into our building.

While mopping up the water and pieces of ceiling tiles, I had a positive thought (always a good thing when mopping). We should pray for this every week. Not for water in the building, but for God’s transforming power to flood our community every week. People in our life have all kinds of “gutter systems” to channel God’s influence away from their heart; the world provides all kinds of distractions and walls. What if we could overwhelm those defense systems by showing God’s transforming love in our lives?

What if God’s Spirit was so pervasive, so powerfully present, that every person coming into contact with our lives would be flooded with His power, more than their walls and systems could withstand? That’s my prayer - that God’s presence would be so evident in the lives of His people that their friends, neighbors, and the world could not miss the flood of Christ’s power and grace.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life at the Ranch

Today is the first day of Vacation Bible School. This year we are visiting the Saddle Ridge Ranch, learning about the God who has answers. It’s a good thing. I think we’ve answered about five hundred questions already this morning, and that we just from the first child who registered.

Our theme scripture is one of my favorites:

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

I need wisdom every day, but especially the week of VBS. The first day of VBS is always a wonderful, chaotic, beautiful mixture of children enjoying new experiences to learn about Christ’s love. I’m grateful for every person who plans, paints, constructs, teaches, sings, runs, and creates to make this week possible, and especially to the God who makes it worth all the effort. We look forward to a great week!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


My family is planning their annual reunion. Living in another state, I haven’t been able to attend for several years. This year, my sister is hosting the event at her home, so I have made arrangements to be there. I’ll see cousins, aunts, uncles and assorted relatives I haven’t seen in 15 or more years. I’m sure I will catch up on some great stories.

To make the trip work, I have booked a series of flights and car rentals over a two-day period that, I fear, will make the reality show Amazing Race look like Sesame Street. The chances that I, my luggage, and my sanity will all arrive in the same place at the same time are somewhere just short of the miracle level. We’ll see how it goes.

It reminds me of the one reservation I know will not be overbooked. In God’s timing, through no merit of my own, I will be reunited with some folks I haven’t seen for a number of years - and some I have never met. I’ll visit a location that no travel brochure could ever do justice. My bags are packed; my ticket is punched. One day, I’ll be in the presence of my Savior. You can’t buy a ticket. They don’t sell them on - if they did, you couldn’t afford them. The price has been paid in full by the only One who could. One day, I’ll be with Him. It’s going to be a great day. I want to do everything I can to make sure everyone has the same opportunity I’ve had, to hear the message of the Savior.

That’s a reunion you don’t want to miss!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Idols or the Living God?

In 1898 the theologian and Prime Minister of Holland Abrahm Kuyper said:

"The fundamental problem has always been, is still and always will be till the end, Christianity or Paganism, the idols or the living God.

Romans 1:25 says it this way:

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."

We worship a variety of things these days. Money, stature, comfort you name it. Every day we have the option to worship either God or created things. This is a battle that is waged inside of each of us.

What or who do you worship?

Why not worship the Creator instead of the created?

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Love Spring!

I love the spring. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, sun shining, grass growing - I love it all. Okay, I could do without the grass growing, but I’ll even endure mowing the lawn if only to be able to walk in the sunshine again. I think most people like this change of seasons. A few diehards have told me they like snow, but I’m not sure if I really believe them. So far, none of them have shoveled my driveway (see my last post). Snow is nice on a postcard, but I’ll take the springtime any day.

I’m glad God provides the change of seasons. It reminds me of the change to come. No matter how bad it gets, if you know Christ, it’s not the end of the story.

Revelation 21:2-4 (NIV)
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

That’s a change of seasons I can’t wait to see!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Shoveling Snow

Shoveling snow from my driveway, I realized something. It keeps coming back. It was one of those days where it snowed three inches, stopped, snowed three inches again, stopped, then snowed another three inches on top of that. The problem for my house is that if I left the snow on the driveway until it was all finished: a) it would be nine inches deep; and b) wherever we drove on it getting in and out of the garage, we would leave tracks of compacted snow, impossible to shovel and soon to become thin strips of ice down our driveway.
So I shoveled. Then I shoveled again. Then I shoveled again. The process, besides reminding my how out of shape I am, also reminded me of a spiritual truth. I need God constantly. Not that He is going to leave me; He has promised that He would not (Matthew 19:20). However, I need to be reminded of my constant need for Him. Even if I wasn’t a pastor, I would still want to be a part of a local church every week. Besides all the wonderful benefits of a church family, I receive a weekly affirmation that I need God. I need Him to shovel the driveway of my soul - some weeks I let way too much pile up. I need Him to prepare the way before me, to guide me, to protect me.
And I will need Him tomorrow, too. Even if it doesn’t snow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Upward and Onward

Our Upward Basketball and Cheerleading ministry began its new season last Saturday, with teams playing their first games and cheerleaders leading the fans in their first cheers. It was a blessing - you’ve never seen basketball in its purest form until you’ve seen it played by elementary school students.

The reality, though, is that this was not the beginning of the Upward season. Teams have been practicing for several weeks, learning skills and teamwork to get ready for that first big game. Most organized sports are that way, teams practice for hours and hours to prepare themselves for that one moment when they get the ball and shoot the basket.

The Bible often uses sports analogies to describe the life of the believer. Paul must have been a sports fan - he has a clear understanding of the athlete’s preparation.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Be encouraged. Live your life in Christ to the fullest this week. Run a great race!