Thursday, August 30, 2007

Heathens and Pagans

Some things bring a smile to your face. We have been saying our goodbyes here in Tennessee. Someone pulled me aside a couple of days ago, and told me "I will be praying for you because there are heathens and pagans up north." (It conjured up images of Nineveh in my mind!) I quickly smiled, but I realized the lady was not joking. She had a distinct opinion of the "Yankees," as she called them. [On a side note, I am pretty sure that many here in the South do not feel like Lee represented their opinions at Appomattox. On another side note, I don't think she realized I am married to my sweetheart from Pennsylvania (what would she say about my in-laws?), and my mom is from Michigan.]

As I thought about the many people that I met while we were up there, I was trying to remember if I met any heathens or pagans. Could Al Demers or Greg Weigel be classified as a heathen? I don't think so! Could Jim Manning be referred to as a pagan... Maybe Jim's a bad illustration! Let's pick another person. Just kidding.

Seriously, I know that I have no idea of all the differences that come by crossing the Mason-Dixon Line. What I do know is that we are all sinners! I do know that apart from Christ we all would be pagans and heathen! I do know that God has a great plan to change the lives of many people who are "pagan and heathen." So, I think I am going to drop labels, love people, and attempt to show them that with God's grace they can truly be alive in Christ.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What is the hope for Ogletown?

Today, I came across these verses in my Bible reading from Psalm 33.

The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. (16-17)

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (20-22)

What it reminded me of is that the hope of Ogletown Baptist Church is not the prospects of a new pastor. It is not found in the building that we will soon move into. It is not even in the work of the ministry that is carried on by the people. All those things will play an important part in the future. All of those things I pray will assist in moving the church forward. However, all of those things by themselves could be classified as "false hopes."

BUT, the ultimate hope of OBC is God alone. He is the one we are waiting on (not a building). He is the one who will help us (not a pastor). He is the one who is our shield (not the people). Because we trust in Him, my "heart is glad."

So, let's make God our hope.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bummed a good way

I noticed these pictures on OBC's website (which is awesome, by the way). When I saw them, I was a little bummed out for a minute. My only reason for sadness was that I was not able to be there to enjoy it with our new church family.

But, I was only down for a minute or so. I realize how much God is doing at Ogletown and it is hard to be sad about anything. I got a glimpse into what God has in store for Ogletown when I was there, and I know signing the steel meant a lot. What I am looking forward to is sharing many more days like this past Sunday with the church.

God continues to work here in Chattanooga. I led my last Senior Adult Bible Study, and it was a special time. In addition many of the thousand details that are involved in a move are falling into place.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A great definition of wisdom

I was reading in one of my favorite books about the wisdom of God, and I ran across this definition:

"God's wisdom means that God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals."

I love the definition. When I think of how God worked in bringing us to Ogletown, I can begin to see some of the "best means" that God has used in bringing us to this point. I can't wait to share some of those with you. It makes me excited about what He has in store. I also realize that God has some incredible purposes for His people at Ogletown, and we are excited about what the future holds.

As I read the definition, I also am reminded that I don't know the best goals for my life, and even when I know them, I don't know the best means to accomplish them. As a matter of fact I get frustrated with God when He doesn't work with "my goals." I remind him of how my prayers should be answered, as if I know something He doesn't. Wow, God is patient with us, isn't He?

God, help me submit to your timing, your goals, your purposes, and your means!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"I just want to move to Delaware NOW"

In a conversation with our 3-yr-old (which can always prove interesting), my wife heard him say, "I just want to move to Delaware NOW." He has no idea (I think) what the next few weeks hold, but I think Shawna and I can join him in the sentiment. We can't wait to see so many new friends, and continue our journey in the place where God has called us to serve. We can't wait to worship with the church. The jury is still out on whether I can honestly say that I "can't wait" to preach three times each Sunday morning, but I am eager to share the Word there, and would much rather have the "3 service" issue, rather than the "nobody comes here anymore" issue! :-)

Anyway, pray for us as we close our ministry at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga. There are so many people we love here, and our desire is to express that love as best we can. I am afraid a couple of weeks won't be adequate, but God knows our hearts.

We will see you in a couple of weeks, but I will be sharing some thoughts here on the blog in the meantime!

P.S. My shirt was given to me by my favorite Associate Collegiate Minister! :-)