Friday, March 24, 2006

Celebrating at least for one day a UT win

I thoroughly enjoyed the high drama and tension of the sweet 16 games last night. The icing on the cake was that UT managed to sink a 3 pointer with .8 seconds left to win it outright and avoid going into OT with West Va. I'm still hoping against hope for concurrent national championships in 3 major sports--baseball, football, and basketball. That's a feat that's never been accomplished and would be a feather in Texas' cap (or maybe attached to one side of Bevo's horns?) Hook 'em Horns! My second son's bracket picks are still looking pretty good. He has UCLA winning it all and they managed an incredible comeback from a 17 point deficit to eliminate Gonzaga.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gearing up for BGCM annual meeting

Our church is privileged to host the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri on March 31st and April 1st. We will be announcing a number of important new partnership agreements, including those with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, with WorldconneX, with the North American Baptist Fellowship, and with the Guatemalan Baptist Convention. The BGCM will have an opportunity to showcase its commitment to its First Priority strategic plan of serving churches through 4 Great Commission initiatives--leadership development, church health, church planting, and missions mobilization. For more information about the BGCM and its upcoming meeting, visit the organization's homepage on the web. Among the featured speakers at this year's meeting are Dr. Albert Reyes, immediate past president of the BGCT and the president of the Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, and Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham. If you're in the Kansas City area that weekend, consider joining us for some great worship, inspiration, and a focus on missions.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Big 12's sole survivor

I found myself in the odd position this afternoon of rooting for Texas A&M against LSU. With OU and KU already being eliminated in first round action, that left just the Aggies and my Longhorns from the Big 12 in the big dance. Now it's up to the 'Horns to represent the conference. I don't have great illusions about their success as they have been very sporadic this season, but I would love to celebrate national championships in 3 major men's sports in one calendar year. For those who might not remember, UT won the College World Series in Omaha last summer and of course beat USC for the national championship in football in January. I officiated the funeral service at noon today for one of the 2 ladies I mentioned in my previous post on ministry to the dying.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ministry to the dying

One of my main responsibilities as associate pastor of our church is working with a wonderful group of senior adults in our congregation. They are one of the finest bunch of folks you could ever hope to meet. Many are a part of the builder generation that helped shape our country during and immediately following WWII. I view this group with a tremendous amount of respect for their unselfish contributions to our nation and our church. It's tough to bid farewell to them when the Lord promotes them by calling them into His presence, but that's a part of life and ministry with this age group. One of the men I've been visiting at the care center for almost 3 years now passed away this morning. He flew more than 50 missions as a bomber pilot in the European Theater of Operations in WWII. He was an outstanding deacon in our church and a Sunday School department director before his health began failing a number of years ago. His legacy is evident in his 2 surviving children (having lost a son in Vietnam). The daughter began a ministry of clowning in the care center to encourage the residents there and his son will be returning this summer to Belarus on a mission trip after having experienced the Lord's blessings on his ministry there last year. Two other dear saintly women are lingering near heaven's door today as well. I had a great visit with them both this morning and was moved by one's declaration that "things don't matter; people matter." That's a message we all need to heed.

Friday, March 10, 2006

TV Review missions fundraiser

I just returned from a fun-filled evening at our church where our music/drama group called Son Light entertained us with a program called Stay Tuned, a musical review of TV shows mainly from the 70s. The youth served the tables with meals served up like TV dinners. Baskets of goodies and prizes were auctioned off and donations were received to help sponsor the youth's mission/choir trip this summer to Biloxi, MS. They will be doing a series of benefit concerts and leading out in backyard Bible clubs in a number of the FEMA trailer communities in the area of Biloxi. We are also sending three adult teams in the months of April, May, and June to Bay St. Louis, MS to assist in rebuilding homes for folks who lost everything in Katrina. We'll be working through the FBC of Bay St. Louis whose pastor, Al Green, served with us in Argentina for many years. I'll be leading the first team of 12 people and we'll be gone from April 8-15. We would appreciate your prayers as we go and serve.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The slippery slope toward credalism

While I have chipped in my two cents a couple of times previously on Wade Burleson's blog, I was able to leave a signed comment today (assuming that he is gracious enough to allow the comment as he has in the past) on his March 8th post about the point being missed yet again by the IMB BoT. The essence of my comment is to agree with him that the BoT is moving beyond the BF&M 2000 in a slippery slope toward credalism, but I would suggest that the earthquake that triggered the landslide down that slope was the BF&M 2000 itself. Its express language about being an instrument of doctrinal accountability, right on the heels of quoting the preface to the 1963 document regarding the place and role of confessions of faith in Baptist life, effectively establishes it as a creed. Point 4 of this introduction to the 1963 document states, "That the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience." The jump from being a guide in interpretation with no authority over the conscience to an instrument of doctrinal accountability that one must sign in order to retain a post within the denominational structure--be that as a seminary professor or missionary--is a major shift. Once the door has been thrown open to denominational incursion into establishing what a local church can and cannot believe and practice in areas where sincere Bible-believing Christians disagree, it will be difficult if not impossible to reverse the trend.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Venture into the world of blogging

After reading a number of blogs for several months now, I finally decided to bite the bullet and create my own blog site. Part of my motivation was the desire to be able to contribute to some ongoing discussions of current themes on some of these sites without having to do so anonymously. I also enjoy writing and trust that this forum will give me an outlet for expressing some thoughts creatively and bouncing them off of others for feedback. I have been closely following the Wade Burleson issue on his blog and a number of others and have chimed in anonymously a couple of times about the situation. While on some levels one could say "I no longer have a dog in the hunt," we still have many former colleagues and friends serving with the IMB and I'm vitally interested in the direction that the IMB takes as a result. As the title of the blog indicates, I'm also a huge fan of the Radical Reformation period in church history and count many of the Anabaptists as true heroes of the faith. While actual historical links between modern day Baptists and the Anabaptists are difficult to demonstrate conclusively, solid research suggests we were strongly influenced by them and deeply indebted to them on many levels. Those interested in chatting about church history and missions among other topics will find a ready participant on this blog.