Monday, March 31, 2008

A General Lack of Respect

March 30, 2008 marked opening day in Major League Baseball here in the states. As is customary, our president threw out the first pitch. This time it was a special inaugural pitch, the first pitch to be tossed from the mound of the Washington Nationals' new baseball stadium.

Unfortunately, the whole scene became a mockery. George W. Bush was booed by thousands of fans. What should have been a celebration of America's greatest pastime instead was a political statement. It was a general lack of respect for the highest office in our land. I don't want to mince any words here. The fact that the president was booed really bothers me.

I know we are in a very unpopular war right now. I know a lot of people blame George Bush. I don't want to be over there, either. I want all of our service men and women to come home just as much as you do. I know the economy is in straits. I know gas prices are at all-time highs. I would like to see some changes, too. But you don't boo the president. You don't disrespect the office of the president.

What is happening these days in the political realm is a microcosm of the moral slide and ignorance of our population as a whole. The apostle Peter once wrote, "...the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries" (2 Pet. 2:9-10).

I think it is interesting that Peter describes those who conduct themselves with a fleshly mind as those who "despise authority," who are "self-willed," and who "are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries." I believe the point is that there are a good number of people in our land who don't want to be governed at all. The only master they desire is the one in the mirror. They make no sacrifices for the country, but they want all the freedom. They are never satisfied, and they always cry for change.

Whether you agree with the president or not is not the thrust of this article. It is about allegiance to a cause, respect for authority, and couth. America is only going to stay great if Americans will demand that they themselves be great. The same is true for the church. Do you respect your elders, even when you don't agree with them? Do you honor the Bible, even when there are some things with which you struggle? Do you obey the elders, even when you know their faults?

If we cannot respect authority, we cannot be ruled. If we cannot be ruled, we cannot have Jesus Christ.

"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work." ~ Titus 3:1

Monday, March 24, 2008


Let me begin by apologizing to everybody about the fact that I have not been able to update my blog in some time. First it was the flu, then it was our big day that was coming up.

This last Sunday we had our "Coming Home Sunday." I had been busy trying to invite everyone I knew to worship. The whole congregation had a big part in this successful day.

When the count was tallied, it was 591 in attendance. But actually, the count was taken early and more than 20 came in afterwards. I also attempted to have everyone fill out a registration card and list number of antendees on each card. That total ended up being 592, but I know of a few families and individuals who were there that never filled out a card. So my best estimate was somewhere just over 600.

This was a great day for us, to say the least. Since I have been at Pulaski St. this is the largest number we have seen. Now, I know numbers are not everything, but 600 souls is better than 500, and 500 is better than 400. So we are happy to know that each person was able to hear the gospel and hopefully it will bring fruit if we are patient and do our work.

The longer I preach the more I realize it is all about souls. I have always known this, but this truth is confirmed to me time and again. For those of you who work full time in the kingdom, I want to encourage you not to worry too much about housekeeping. Get out there and win some souls for Christ. I am speaking to myself as well. The more time we spend spreading the word about the truth and the church, while inviting people to worship, the more we can do for the cause of Christ.

I am very thankful for 592+! God deserves all of the glory. He is the only reason why we met. He is the only reason why we do anything.
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." ` Ephesians 3:20-21

Monday, March 3, 2008

"I'm Stumped!"

Don't you wish you had the confidence you once had when you were a child? I mean, the confidence in yourself - that good feeling that you had about yourself and your abilities? Kids often have no problem going on a ego trip. When we are older, however, and we consider all of the mistakes we have made, we seldom feel good about ourselves. If fact, we can find fault in just about every area of our lives.

Tonight at the dinner table we were playing the question game. This is a good game to play with the family. It will bring laughs and help you to share your thoughts and feelings with your family members. The rules are simple: Somebody poses a question for each person to answer. You are required to think about your true feelings and answer honestly. One question was, "If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be and why?" (I said, Superman, for obvious reasons...although he is more of a hero than a cartoon character, but still...).

When it was my turn to ask a question, I said, "If you could change any one thing about yourself, what would it be?" It was Luke's turn to answer first. What did this 6 year-old say? He thought for a minute, then finally said, "I'm stumped!" Oh, to be six again! To feel that good about yourself! He wouldn't change anything! I wonder what we could accomplish if we could have that kind of confidence?

At first I thought my son could not be more arrogant, then I thought about the implications of his statement. When you are without sin, you can feel that good. I guess he was right. If I had no sins in my life, I wouldn't want to change anything either. What could be better than to be without sin? "I'm stumped!"

"Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:" ~ 1 Pet. 2:22

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Leap Day

It is amazing what one extra day can mean. February 29th, 2008 was one of those extra days. If you had an extra day, what would you do with it? I guess if you don't know, then you already blew it. Leap day has come and gone.

This was an extraordinary leap day for me. Besides the regular phone calls, a funeral in the rain, and other work, I had two good friends of mine call me about life changing decisions they had decided to make. One is confidential, and I cannot share it. I can only say that I love my friend and appreciate everything he does and I am confident he will continue to do.

The second friend I can discuss. My friend Wayne Snider decided to become a Christian today. After years of encouragement, love, and patient example from his family and friends, Wayne put Christ on in baptism. He recognized God's longsuffering on his behalf and was thankful. He wasn't going to allow his extra day, one among many, to be wasted.

People sometimes wonder why others do not make the commitment to become a Christian sooner. Why not when they first hear the good news? Why not once they are convinced it is the right thing to do? Why not, when they are tempting the possibility of a tomorrow never realized? I have learned that these questions have no specific answer. Each person must make the decision in their own way. While today is the only day that we have, it may be that today some are simply not ready.

But the love of God is the greatest and most powerful force in existence. The love of God works on the heart of every man. With time and encouragement, it can conquer.

One day many years ago, a man was baptized and went on his way rejoicing. On leap day, I know a man who had every reason to walk, and leap, and praise God. It was an extraordinary day. I am thankful to God for an extra day I will never forget.

"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven..." ~Luke 6:23