Archive | September, 2010

Too good NOT to share

14 Sep

This, today’s entry from, I dedicate to Bryan Howell (owner of Fire it Up here in Florence):

A man is skydiving, enjoying his free-fall, when he realizes that he has reached the altitude where he must open his parachute. So he pulls on the rip cord, but nothing happens.
“No problem,” he says to himself, “I still have my emergency chute.” So he pulls the rip cord on his emergency parachute, and once again, nothing happens. Now the man begins to panic.

“What am I going to do?” he thinks, “I’m a goner…”

Just then he sees a man flying up from the earth toward him. He can’t figure out where this man is coming from, or what he’s doing, but he thinks to himself, “Maybe he can help me. If he can’t, then I’m done for.”

When the man gets close enough to him, the skydiver cups his hands and shouts down, “Hey, do you know anything about parachutes?”

The other man replies, “No! Do you know anything about gas stoves?”

[forwarded by Carol Calvert]


It’s better to tell your money where to go than to ask where it went.

An update on Dad

14 Sep

It’s been a while since I blogged an update on Dad.  My family and I greatly appreciate all of the prayers offered up for him, and we covet more.

Dad is still at home.  He stands and walks in therapy, and very slowly when transferring from his bed to his wheelchair.  He is not really walking at any other time.  Several months ago when they removed the shunt from his head, they finally replaced it with a smaller-volume drain implanted in his spine.  Since then, he’s had a couple of spinal taps to remove fluid and they make a big difference.  He is in this place where we cannot put another programmable shunt in, because the risk of subdural hemos is too great.  So, every few months, his memory and motor skills get really bad.  That is where he is right now.

He’s been taking outpatient therapy at Roger C. Peace, which has been a good thing.  That wheelchair-accesible van is the best thing we bought … Yesterday, they realized his knee is popping and hurting him pretty badly.  Mom is now trying to get him in to see the doctor about this, but this presents quite a dilemma:  IF his knee needs surgery, he probably won’t be a candidate because of his lack of ability to rehab it.

Today, we don’t know what all of this means.  For the last week or so, he has been able to do significantly less and less in therapy.  Part of it is the pain in his knee and part of it is his lack of being able to complete simple motor skills.  I don’t know what any of us can do but pray.

And I greatly appreciate those who do.

Becoming something we were not supposed to be …

9 Sep

I’ve been reading a book from another fine graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary named David Platt.  Radical discusses the idea that we in the US have “Americanized” the church and taken it to a place Christ never intended.  A place that many churches around the world would never go.  We’ve made it about our comfort and convenience.  Wait a minute … there is the problem right there:  We’ve made it about US instead of about GOD!!!

I’ve been reading this book and evaluating where I am right now.  Where we are right now.  Not only Ebenezer, but churches across this area.  And Platt is correct!

There is something fundamentally WRONG with a church that complains about having to move from the sanctuary to a gymnasium to worship together (for space purposes) when there are men and women around the WORLD worshiping in secret, for DAYS at a time, out of fear for their LIVES.  There is something fundamentally wrong when we have 5 gazillion committees to do 3 million things and only two hundred people sharing all of the jobs.  (Call that ministerial estimation!!)

I am reeling right now about this one:  We have many great programs and ministries at Ebenezer.  Every one that I see has the purpose of pointing adults, youth, and children to Christ; the purpose of helping to support and build a solid relationship with Christ.  Every one of them has the purpose of discipling in some way.  And it just evidences Platt’s premise when, as a senior pastor, I hear more complaints about our programming than I do broken hearts about those who are lost and dying that drive by our church EVERY DAY.  And the REAL church had better do something about this, because pseudo-churches are popping up all over.  Much of their message does not measure up to the words of Christ.

Believers in Christ, we MUST listen to the words of Paul in II Timothy 4:

1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

That time is here and now.  What are we gonna do about it? THIS IS NOT BURGER KING!!  We are people, and have many differences.  Let’s work our differences out WITH LOVE.  In fact, Peter said Love overlooks a multitude of sins!!  Why don’t we love each other, sacrifice our comfort, and get about the business God called us to in the first place??


Remaining Relevant

7 Sep

Read a blog post from pastor yesterday.  Made me really think about many things.  Seems he was the pastor of a church that died.  At one time, this church was prominent and vibrant.  And relevant.  And they died.

How does a relevant church die??  They die when they become so inwardly focused on themselves that they cannot hear the cries of a world, dying and desperately needing Christ.  Right outside their doors.  It’s almost as if God leaves them to the results of their pride.  They literally die staring in the mirror at themselves.  They forget to digest His word.  They forget to exercise His work.  And they die.

And, with God as my witness, I DO NOT EVER WANT ANYONE TO WRITE THIS ABOUT EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH.  And I will do my part to try and make sure this never happens.  I just hope everyone else is up to it.

It’s time we, the BODY OF CHRIST, stood up and followed HIM!!!  And I mean ALL OF US!

For the duration …

3 Sep

What is your level of commitment?????

One of the trends I’ve noticed in the past decade is a hesitancy to commit.  In MANY, MANY areas of life.  I first noticed this in some of the regular activities of our church that require people to sign-up.  To put their name on the dotted line.  Fifteen years ago, if you asked folks to do this, they would do it and live up to it.  There was this commitment to our word … “If I put my name on the line, you can count on me!”

But times have changed.  Not only at church, but throughout our community there seems to be a trend of not wanting to sign-up or commit until the last minute.  We are ALWAYS waiting on a better deal, wanting to keep our options open!!  Makes things tough on those who need attendance numbers to plan events, but that is the way it is in Florence, SC, in the year 2010!!

And, yes, this bleeds over into church commitment.  Some take the cafeteria style approach, especially in areas like youth ministry.  There is ALWAYS something going on in a youth ministry somewhere in Florence.  That is a good thing!!  And I am glad so many churches have healthy church ministries!!  But sometimes I think people forget about making a commitment to a local church body and living up to it!!  (And they forget to teach their children commitment, too!)

And then there are the church hoppers.  You know, those who NEVER stay at a single church for too long.  You know them, as do I.  Many years ago I had a meeting with a person who attended another church.  That person proceeded to tell me how horrible the youth pastor at his current church was.  It was an enlightening moment for me:  As I sat listening to him bash a colleague, I realized he would say the same words about me someday.  And he did.  And he left the church for another.  And another.  And another.

Let’s cut to the chase here:  I wish everyone in Florence could find a church in which to plug in.  And when they do, they need to COMMIT and PLUG IN.  End of story.  No riding the fence.  Find the place where you belong and BE THERE and BE A PART OF WHAT GOD IS DOING THERE.

For the duration.

Doorbell fun

2 Sep

(Today’s email from

A priest is walking down the street one day when he notices a very small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the boy is very small and the doorbell is too high for him to reach.

After watching the boy’s efforts for some time, the priest moves closer to the boy’s position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder, leans over and gives the doorbell a solid ring.

Crouching down to the child’s level, the priest smiles benevolently and asks, “And now what, my little man?”

To which the boy turns and hollers, “Now we run!”


Children are natural mimics who act like their parents, despite every effort to teach them good manners.

Constructive Criticism

1 Sep

What is the difference between criticism and constructive criticism??  Two things come to mind.  FIRST OF ALL, subject matter.  Is the criticism being shared a valid concern?  Is it something that will really help a person??  OR is it just a rant?  SECOND, was it shared from a GOOD HEART or in malice??

This week, I had a visitor.  A friend.  What he said to me is not as important as HOW he said it.  He shared a little constructive criticism.  OF COURSE, my initial response was to be defensive.  But, quickly, I realized what he said was valid and he shared it from a place of loving his pastor.  He wanted to help me by sharing it.  And it took great courage to share it.

How did I know this??  I could see it in his eyes.  I could hear it in his voice.  And it made me appreciate him even more than I already did.  It was the way he shared that told me.  Carefully chosen words and a gentle demeanor.  Honestly, I’ve heard much criticism in my day.  MUCH of it through the grapevine.  I also appreciated the fact that he came to ME instead of sharing it in the court of public opinion.

It IS the church BEING the church!  An older brother coming to the aid of a younger brother!  Man, I LOVE my family in Christ!!!!