Archive | May, 2010

Thankful

17 May

Last night at EBC we had our annual Royal Ambassador / Girls in Action recognition service.  In this service we honor the hard work of our boys and girls in mission study throughout the school year.  I love it, because it reminds me every year of how much those guys and girls are growing up.  It is also a gentle reminder of the most unappreciated resource of any church – Volunteers.

RAs and GAs are two of many ministries at Ebenezer that would not exist without volunteers:  Men and women who believe in the mission and are willing to give their time to see it become reality.  I often joke from the pulpit there must be a special place in Heaven for RA workers … I could say the same for GA workers, too!  Both jobs are TOUGH and the rewards are solely in the results.  And, as a pastor, I am VERY THANKFUL for the number of adults who help make these programs happen.  I am thankful for adults who are willing to meet for long hours to develop and plan other ministries of the church.

I guess what I am writing is this:  I am THANKFUL for people who seek God’s will and followHis call!!

What will YOU do with Him?

16 May

I often end sermons with that thought.  Even that exact quote.  And I wonder what it really means to those who hear?

At the 8:30 service this morning, I felt like a salmon trying to swim upstream.  In front of a room full of deer caught in my little salmon headlights.  And I hate it when that happens.  Sometimes I wonder if I am doing justice to the message God puts on my heart.  I wish I could study about TWICE as much as I get to now, but if I do that, other things go lacking.  And people get upset.  And they start hounding me about things on their agendas.  And, being a middle child, more often than not I cave.  And then I almost drown myself trying to get ready for the next big thing.  And that is the weekly cycle of my life.

Back to the point:  I think we are all guilty, at times, of forgetting what this is all about.  We get so caught up in what we think OUGHT to happen that we forget it is all about HIM.  And we get so busy in the minutia of “church work” that we forget to ask the question, “What will I do with Him?”

After all, He is why we are REALLY here … Right??

Racing 4 Taylor

15 May

In a few minutes, we will trek up to West Florence High School for Drew to run in a 5k.  A very special race, in memory of a special kid.  Taylor Elmore was one of Drew’s cross country teammates that lost his life in a tragic auto accident at the beginning of August, 2009.

I love the Elmores.  Would not consider them close, personal friends, but their character has shown through in several ways.  My favorite memory goes back two summers ago, when Drew was a rising 8th grader at Sneed and Belinda (Taylor’s mom) was coaching the Sneed kids, AS A VOLUNTEER, through a summer workout to get them ready to run CC at West Florence that year.  Both of the Elmore boys (Taylor and Brian) were already at West Florence, but all THREE of them ran with the Sneed kids, taught them, challenged them, and readied them.  FOR NO PAY.  Just for the love of running.  I will always love them for that.

When Taylor died, my heart broke for them.  As well as MANY, MANY folks whose lives they have touched.  And I am more than glad to get up early this morning, cook breakfast for my family, and go out to the festivities.  Proceeds from this race will go to help special needs kids in FSD1, purchasing recreation equipment for them.

And even better – the team Taylor helped, the team he was a part of will put on their cross country uniforms one more time this school year and run for their fallen brother.  And there is something really cool about that!!

ANOTHER thing I HAD to post!!

14 May

My buddy, Mark Plunkett, just sent me this in an email.  His observation was this is a modern parable of the state of the church.  He is DEAD-ON ACCURATE!!

The Parable of the Sandwich Sign
by Max Lucado
I am the voice of the one calling out in the desert: “Make the road straight for the Lord.”
John 1:23

The faces of the three men were solemn as the mayor informed them of the catastrophe. “The rains have washed away the bridge. During the night many cars drove over the edge and into the river.”

“What can we do?” asked one.
“You must stand on the side of the road and warn the drivers not to make the left turn. Tell them to take the one-lane road that follows the side of the river.”

“But they drive so fast! How can we warn them?”
“By wearing these sandwich signs,” the mayor explained, producing three wooden double-signs, hinged together to hang from one’s shoulders. “Stand at the crossroads so drivers can see these signs until I can get someone out there to fix the bridge.”

And so the men hurried out to the dangerous curve and put the signs over their shoulders.
“The drivers should see me first,” spoke one. The others agreed. His sign warned, “Bridge Out!” He walked several hundred yards before the turn and took his post.

“Perhaps I should be second, so the drivers will slow down,” spoke the one whose sign declared, “Reduce Speed.”
“Good idea,” agreed the third. “I’ll stand here at the curve so people will get off the wide road and onto the narrow.” His sign read simply “Take Right Road” and had a finger pointing toward the safe route.

And so the three men stood with their three signs ready to warn the travelers of the washed-out bridge. As the cars approached, the first man would stand up straight so the drivers could read, “Bridge Out.”

Then the next would gesture to his sign, telling the cars to “Reduce Speed.”
And as the motorists complied, they would then see the third sign, “Right Road Only.” And though the road was narrow, the cars complied and were safe. Hundreds of lives were saved by the three sign holders. Because they did their job, many people were kept from peril.

But after a few hours they grew lax in their task.
The first man got sleepy. “I’ll sit where people can read my sign as I sleep,” he decided. So he took his sign off his shoulders and propped it up against a boulder. He leaned against it and fell asleep. As he slept his arm slid over the sign, blocking one of the two words. So rather than read “Bridge Out,” his sign simply stated “Bridge.”

The second didn’t grow tired, but he did grow conceited. The longer he stood warning the people the more important he felt. A few even pulled off to the side of the road to thank him for the job well done.

“We might have died had you not told us to slow down,” they applauded.
“You’re so right,” he thought to himself. “How many people would be lost were it not for me?”
Presently he came to think that he was just as important as his sign. So he took it off, set it up on the ground, and stood beside it. As he did, he was unaware that he, too, was blocking one word of his warning. He was standing in front of the word “Speed.” All the drivers could read was the word “Reduce.” Most thought he was advertising a diet plan.

The third man was not tired like the first, nor self-consumed like the second. But he was concerned about the message of his sign. “Right Road Only,” it read.

It troubled him that his message was so narrow, so dogmatic. “People should be given a choice in the matter. Who am I to tell them which is the right road and which is the wrong road?”

So he decided to alter the wording of the sign. He marked out the word “Only” and changed it to “Preferred.”
“Hmm,” he thought, “that’s still too strident. One is best not to moralize. So he marked out the word “Preferred” and wrote “Suggested.”

That still didn’t seem right, “Might offend people if they think I’m suggesting I know something they don’t.”
So he thought and thought and finally marked through the word “Suggested” and replaced it with a more neutral phrase.
“Ahh, just right,” he said to himself as he backed off and read the words:

“Right RoadOne of Two Equally Valid Alternatives.”
And so as the first man slept and the second stood and the third altered the message, one car after another plunged into the river.

From A Gentle Thunder
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1995) Max Lucado

I love it when a plan comes together …

14 May

Yes, I saw Liam Neeson utter that famous phrase as Hannibal Smith on the A-Team preview and now I must see it!!  But that is NOT what this entry is about …

In the last couple of weeks I’ve posted several negatives about Cale Yarborough Honda.  Don’t know if I will EVER do business with them again.  HOWEVER, I feel the need to post a POSITIVE about another local business:

Don’t you LOVE it when you go to a local business and they do EXACTLY what they say they will do??  And they tell you the TRUTH!   And everything fits what you expected TO A TEE!!  (And it didn’t even cost as much as you thought it would??)

That is exactly what I get every time I deal with Norton Car Stereo in Florence.  And, if there is a problem, they fix it …  And many times they can figure things out that CAR DEALERS don’t even understand, with things OTHER than stereo issues.

Now I will admit that Jimmy and Connie are good friends of mine.  But I’ve also watched them deal with OTHERS and seen the same results.  And, when a business works hard to keep their customers happy, their customers always want to COME BACK.

And sometimes they even blog about it!!!!

Deep, Deep Thoughts

14 May

This was too good NOT to post!  It was forwarded by Christy Worrell to Mikey’s Funnies (www.mikeysfunnies.com)

23RD PSALM FOR THE STUDENT

The Lord is my real instructor and I shall not want.
He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me.
He gently reminds me to pray before I speak and to do all things without murmuring and complaining.
He reminds me that He is my Salvation and not my school.
He restores my sanity every day and guides my decisions that I might honor Him in everything I do.

Even though I face absurd amounts of homework, quizzes, tests, unrealistic deadlines, shortages of funds, gossiping students, discriminating teachers, and a sleep-deprived body that doesn’t cooperate every morning, I will not stop–for He is with me!

His presence, His peace, and His power will see me through.
He raises me up, even when they fail to give me good grades.
He claims me as His own, even when the class threatens to flunk me.

His faithfulness and love are better than any A+.
His eternal reward beats every degree there is.
When it’s all said and done, I’ll be working for Him a whole lot longer than I’ll be in school (even when it doesn’t feel like it) and for that, I bless His Name!

[forwarded by Christy Worrell]

A brief update on Dad

13 May

Just a little update and a chance to say “thank God for small progress.”

Dad is continuing to work with home health therapists and is making progress! He got out of bed two mornings in a row with his walker, as opposed to with the lift! Seems like small progress, but it makes me think less of what that nurse said about him only getting worse from here.

Sometimes I think healthcare workers get overwhelmed and make assumptions that are not totally accurate. I think her intention was good and I guess I am just glad she was wrong. Oh well!

We are just thankful for continuing progress!!!