Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Review

I've been absent from the blogging world for a while. My wife had a student who qualified for the National Forensics Tournament in Las Vegas this past week so my youngest son and I accompanied them for a week of vacation. I didn't even access a computer for the entire week, other than to purchase passes to some of the sights in the area. We enjoyed the time away very much.

While on vacation, I read a book by Kyle Lake, the 33-year old pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, TX, who died tragically in 2005 when he was electrocuted in the church’s baptistry. The book is entitled, Understanding God's Will: How To Hack The Equation Without Formulas. Lake makes the case that we’ve reduced the quest for knowing God’s will to a series of formulas rather than focusing on living life in a fresh, daily encounter with Jesus. He also states that far too often we have equated the will of God with favorable circumstances, safety, and our own well-being. Jesus’ call to His disciples was an invitation to a lifestyle of radical obedience to Him—not a promise that everything in life would always go well for us. The trials and troubles we experience in life shouldn’t be interpreted as signs that we’ve somehow missed out on God’s “perfect will,” a phrase that Lake suggests can be misleading. Our calling is not to know all the answers to what lies ahead in our future, but to walk daily with the One who call us His friends and invites us to know Him more fully. Kyle Lake concluded each of his sermons with this charge to his congregation, “Love God, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest.” Those are wise words to live by as we seek to walk daily with the One who said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Great Example of Sportsmanship

I had read this article a few months back and copied it into a Word document, adding it to a file of illustrations and inspirational stories that I might use someday in a sermon or Bible study. As I stumbled across it again today, I thought that it was just too good not to share. I hope you'll follow the link and read the story of a great example of sportsmanship from the world of women's athletics.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Needed: An Enlarged Heart

While I trust that no one reading this actually bet and lost money on Big Brown’s failed quest to win horse racing’s famous Triple Crown this past Saturday at Belmont, it’s interesting to note that 30 years have passed since a horse has won all three major races—the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. The longest previous stretch without a Triple Crown winner was 25 years, which ended with Secretariat’s record run in 1973. Secretariat won all three races in record time that year, winning the Belmont by an astonishing 31 lengths. The “horse of the century” was retired later that year and was euthanized in 1989 after falling ill. An autopsy revealed that Secretariat’s heart was two and a half times the size of an average horse’s heart—-perhaps accounting for his amazing endurance.

In thinking about Secretariat’s unusual heart, I was impressed with the fact that we really need some big-hearted Christians in our world today. When on a national level Baptists are best known for what they are opposed to rather than what they stand for, it’s time to remember that Jesus summarized the entire law in two statements—-loving God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when someone delivers our funeral eulogy at some future date that the comment could be made that we were characterized by an enlarged heart with a great capacity for loving God and others?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunday's Sermon Outline

Our senior pastor was gone to Washington, D.C. this past weekend to celebrate an anniversary with his wife so I had the privilege of preaching in both morning services and again on Sunday evening. For Sunday morning I selected as a text the prayer of Jesus in John 17 and focused on the topic of our highest calling being that of glorifying God. Using Jesus’ prayer as a guideline, I sought to answer the question of how we go about bringing glory to God, even as He did in His earthly ministry. This is the outline I came up with and the main points I shared.

Knowing God through Jesus Christ – v. 3
Accomplishing the Work He Gives Us – v. 4
Keeping His Word – v. 6
Going into the World – v. 18
Being One in Christ – vv. 20-23