Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heading to Texas

My wife asked my Mom the other day if she would like to pay a visit to her sisters and she quickly responded that she would very much enjoy doing so. I was a bit surprised as she doesn't venture out of the house much here after a couple of falls that produced some fractured vertebrae. At any rate, we're going to head to Texas on Saturday to allow her to attend her old church (Acton Baptist Church) near Granbury and then we'll also visit her older and younger sisters before winding up in San Angelo the following weekend to see our newest grandson.

It will be lots of hours of driving and I trust that she can tolerate that okay, but it's been a couple of years at least since she's seen her sisters, so this should be a special time for her. I'm really excited as well about seeing Jonah who is already 12 days old. We've seen pictures but that doesn't compare to being able to hold him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Averting Tragedy

On August 16, 1920, professional baseball experienced the only death ever caused by a pitched ball when Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was struck in the temple by Carl Mays of the Yankees. Chapman made a habit out of crowding the plate and was frequently hit by pitches. It appeared that Chapman was expecting a curveball and made no attempt to move out of the way. He collapsed from the impact, was helped to his feet and walked to the dugout, but then lost consciousness. Emergency surgery failed to save his life. Chapman’s death prompted a major change in baseball as to this point, just a handful of balls were used per game. They would become discolored and scuffed and harder to see. Following Chapman’s death, dirty or scuffed balls had to be replaced. An unexpected by-product of the rule change was an increase in the number of home runs as the newer balls were wound tighter and carried farther when struck.

It’s sad and unfortunate that a tragedy must take place at times before safety measures are implemented to protect people. Vehicle safety inspections, child safety seats, railroad crossing warning lights, and so many other measures arose to address tragedies after the fact.

I wonder how many Christians ignore warning signs about their relationship with God until a full-blown tragedy occurs. Neglecting the daily disciplines of prayer and Bible study is a sure-fire way to weaken our ability to resist temptation that will inevitably come, attempting to sabotage our walk with the Lord. Rather than courting a spiritual crisis through indifference to God, let’s resolve to spend time with Him each day. It’s a lot harder to put Humpty Dumpty back together than it is to keep him from falling.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Yesterday's Message

Our A-V guys were really quick this time on getting the previous day's sermon uploaded on the church's website. If you're interested in listening to my message yesterday entitled "Life Transformation isn't Optional," here's the link.

The Lord blessed our fellowship yesterday with the addition of three new families, including a family of former missionaries to Africa.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Global Leadership Summit

I really enjoyed my first-time experience at Willow Creek's annual Global Leadership Summit. I attended at one of the simulcast sites here in the Kansas City area at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, MO. Having previously attended other gatherings there including an IMB appointment service and the Baptist Border Crossing, I was aware of both the wonderful facilities and the tremendous group of willing volunteers that the church has to pull off such an event. They surely didn't disappoint this time either.

There were many highlights of the meeting and only one of the many speakers didn't really connect with me. My favorite two presenters were Christine Caine (a pastor and teacher at the Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia as well as founder of the A21 Campaign to fight sexual trafficking of women) and Jeff Manion (pastor of the Ada Bible Church in Ada, MI). They were both outstanding preachers with great messages. I enjoyed Jeff so much that I bought his book that his message was based upon entitled The Land Between.

I really enjoyed attending with our minister of outreach and education as we were able to share impressions and bounce reactions off of one another. I'd love to see our entire staff in attendance next year. With a combination of pastors and Christian leaders as well as prominent business leaders, the conference did an outstanding job of providing inspiration and some thought-provoking insights about leadership in any organization.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Catching Up

I have been very remiss of late in posting anything on my blog. I realize that I had even failed to provide a follow-up report to the Summer Adult Bible Study on Galatians. That turned out to be a great time once again this year. We averaged about 90 folks each night. Our low attendance was about 75 or 80 on Tuesday evening when a pretty violent thunderstorm rolled through town just about 30 or 40 minutes before we were scheduled to begin. I was fearful that no one would show up, but was really pleased with the turnout despite the bad weather. The study went very well and the comments afterwards were very affirming. It's clear that our folks really enjoy doing this each summer.

We've lost three of our senior adults who went home to be with the Lord since I last posted as well. Two of them had been in care centers for quite some time while the other had struggled with Alzheimers but his wife was able to care for him at home. His service will be this Saturday morning at church.

Tomorrow and Friday I'll be attending the Willow Creek Association's annual Leadership Summit via live telecast at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty, MO. I understand that they're expecting around 800 at that location. This is the first time I will have had the privilege of attending. I think I'm the only BGCM staff member who has never gone, so I look forward to the experience. I'll be joined by our minister of outreach and education who has previously attended a Summit. I hope to be able to share some insights from the conference.

With the shortened work week due to the conference Thursday and Friday and the funeral on Saturday morning, I've been working to get everything else done by today, including preparing a sermon to preach this coming Sunday. I've been thinking a lot about life transformation of late in light of some things I've been reading, including the public announcement by Anne Rice that she is renouncing Christianity but not her faith in Christ. I'm using her statement and a couple of related stories as an introduction to a message I've entitled "Life Transformation isn't Optional." The sermon text is 2 Cor. 5:14-20. I'll try to share a link to it after it gets uploaded and posted on the church website in case anyone would like to hear it.

Had a good time tonight at prayer meeting and Bible study. We're starting a new schedule in September on Wednesday nights, including restarting the tradition of a Wednesday night supper, and I'm still praying about what series to begin then. In the meantime, over the next three weeks I'm kind of unpacking our church's new mission statement (Love God, love people, make disciples) with appropriate scripture references.

Thanks to those who still stop by and pay an occasional visit to my site. I'm grateful for your readership.