Archive | October, 2012

A Little Surprise at Fall Festival Setup

31 Oct

Last night a handful of Ebenezerites met to set up for Fall Festival.  Setup went well and as we were winding down I found a basketball on the court.  I couldn’t resist …  What I found was the left-handed dribbling is going MUCH BETTER than before.  There is much more flexibility in my elbow joint and I was actually able to dribble with my elbow feeling natural!!  (Before, I could dribble but the elbow felt very stiff and clunky)

Yeah, I know … Barely worth blogging about.  But to me, one of the most awesome things that has happened to my elbow in months!!  Remember, I never thought I would dribble with my left hand at all!!  I shot a few free throws and a couple of threes, tried to teach Jack Newton to dribble with one hand, and then put it all down.

All in all, a good day!!  Now praying for a great day TODAY as our Fall Festival kicks into full swing tonight!!!

Get the job done

29 Oct

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul encouraged Timothy in the work God called Timothy to do.  He told him many things about doing the work of an evangelist and finished the meaningful passage by telling Timothy to “fulfill your ministry.”  While we are not all called to be vocational missionaries, pastors, and evangelists, we ARE all called to fulfill our ministries (whatever they might be).

It is true that God has given each of us unique gifts and roles to play in building the kingdom of God.  God did not HAVE to accomplish His purposes this way:  He chose to allow us to come along side and build with Him.  When we think about that, it really is a huge blessing!!  Just as my father allowed me to go with him (even before I was probably helpful) and learn about HVAC and all kinds of other contracting things, God allows us to join Him in His work.  And, just like those days with my dad, the REAL benefit was the time I spent with him.

Yes, the biggest benefit to joining God in His work is the time we get to spend with Him up close.  The things we get to see and the ways we get to help make it happen!  That is reason enough to join Him wherever He leads, and once you’ve done that and seen His hands at work up close, YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ADVENTURE!!

So, it’s Monday morning.  Kind of cool outside here in Florence, SC.  And a perfect day to find God at work, discover what He’s called YOU to do, and GET THE JOB DONE!!!

Today’s Sermon: So what if I don’t go?

28 Oct

So What if I don’t go? from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.


25 Oct

Apathy for the kingdom of God is running rampant in the North American church.  It’s hard to believe God’s people could care less about what He is doing around them, but in many cases it’s true.  One of the elements of the church in Honduras that I LOVE was the absence of apathy … They really do act like the Acts 2 church.  I pray we can get there.

I used to believe it was just a lack of care.  Fire insurance Christians tend to not care about God, His work or His will once they think they have their ticket to Heaven.  According to the teachings of Christ, it doesn’t work that way.

Now days I wonder if it is due to a lack of vision … a lack of understanding of the big picture.  Do we really understand that even what we deem as the “little things” make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in the Kingdom of God.  Maybe even an ETERNAL difference!!

We cannot apply our sense of value or importance on the things God call us to do.  Because THEY ARE ALL AS VALUABLE AS GOLD and AS IMPORTANT AS ANYTHING ELSE HAPPENING IN HIS KINGDOM.  God invites YOU to join Him and has given you the gifts you need to complete the mission.

Let’s all show up and do the things He’s given us to do!!  You’ll never be blessed more by anything else than you will by walking in the center of His plan for you!!

A Dull Ax

22 Oct

It’s Monday morning, after one of the roughest weekends in a while.  Two funerals and three worship services since Friday, and I can tell the ol’ ax is dull.  It’s like I’m hitting the tree, but nothing is happening.  NO, I’m not about to go the the Post Office with an assault rifle and do bad things, so no texts or calls necessary here, please!!  I’m not out on a ledge … just knowing the blade is a little dull today.

Eccelsiastes 10:10 has this to day about that topic:  “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.”  (NLT)  Gonna try to find a few ways to sharpen the blade on the fly this week.  Hope it works!!

Ironically, I showed the youth a video on Wednesday about a hillbilly husband and wife.  She have him a new chainsaw as a birthday present.  He tried to use the chainsaw to cut a tree and several other things, and it wasn’t working out for him so well.  When he was finally exhausted and laid out in a lawn chair, his wife picked it up, CRANKED IT, and started cutting a tree like nobody’s business.  And it all worked out because she knew how to apply the POWER to that saw.

Hmmm…  maybe I need to watch that video again ….

Today’s Sermon: With All of Your Heart

21 Oct

Are you afraid to shoot??

17 Oct

As a lifelong student of basketball, you see many parallels to life in the sport. And I love this sport.  At one time, playing ball was ALL I wanted to do.  Then coaching came along, but it wasn’t as much fun as playing.  Now I am relegated to watching because of my left elbow and the potential to dislocate.  I’ve found many life lessons on the court, and one that really strikes me today is the fear of shooting … Yep, that’s right!!

But WAIT … ISN’T THE POINT of basketball to SCORE??  To shoot the ball through the hoop as many times as you are able, and to prevent the opposition from doing it!!  The one with the most points WINS.  So, if you are afraid of shooting, why play?

Good question.  And there are many reasons to be afraid to shoot.  Fear that you won’t make the basket.  Fear that you will get your shot blocked.  Fear … that you will fail in some way.  And, little kids and rookies are not the ONLY ONES paralyzed by such fear.

The fear of failure gets WAYY TOO MUCH respect in our society and world today.  If you don’t shoot … if you don’t take your shot … YOU WILL NEVER SCORE.  In gun speak, if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.

And, if you DO shoot … you will be criticized.  And that is ok!!  It’s so funny to me to watch people who are actually DOING something taking criticism while those who do little or nothing do not.  In politics, in business, in sports, and in life, there is ALWAYS someone who thinks they have a better idea and could do it better.  Just look at how much criticism Jesus took — AND HE IS THE SON OF GOD!!

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO FAIL!!  DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SHOOT!!  Have you ever heard the story of Thomas Edison and the lightbulb??  There are a variety of versions of this story and numbers associated with his quote, but this seems to be the most accurate version.  When asked by a NY Times reporter about all of his failures at inventing the light bulb, Edison replied “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Take the shots God gives you!!  DON’T BE AFRAID!!  TRUST HIM AND HAVE FAITH!! When He calls on you to take your shot, HE HAS ALREADY PREPARED THE WAY!!

The GREATEST FEELING ON THE COURT is shooting and watching the net pop as the ball spins perfectly through the hoop!  It won’t happen everytime … but all it takes is a time or two, and you’ll be hooked!

Membership Covenant

15 Oct

Yesterday in worship I shared the membership covenant written by early members of Ebenezer Baptist Church and adopted by the church on January 4, 1823.  Thought I would share it a and a rough modernization of it this morning:

ARTICLE IV – Church Covenant – Adopted by Ebenezer Baptist Church, January 4, 1823.

“…we do solemnly covenant and agree:”

“First, that we will take the only living and true God in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – to be our God.

In MODERN ENGLISH:  When we refer to God … and the Trinity … We are talking about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  And we worship Him and Him ALONE.

“Secondly, we unreservedly and solemnly give up ourselves, both soul and body, and all we possess, to Almighty God to be ordered, directed, and disposed of by him, according to the counsel of his holy will.  And this we do in an humble dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit, to aid and support us in these sacred engagements.


“Thirdly, we take the scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be our rule of faith and practice, both in the great concerns of religion and the general affairs of life; and particularly for transacting the business of the church.

We believe God’s Word to be our standard of living, both in spiritual matters AND in LIFE and especially when doing the business of the church.

“Fourthly, we promise to maintain communion and fellowship with each other in the public worship of God, according to the various ordinances of the gospel; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but embracing all regular, convenient seasons for this purpose, as the providence of God shall permit.  And that we will exercise Christian forbearance and love, one toward another: praying for, and sympathizing with each order, in the various circumstances of life, and using every laudable endeavor to provoke to love and good works.

We PROMISE that we will WORSHIP TOGETHER as much as God permits us. We will have communion with God and fellowship with each other.  And we will love each other, pray for each other, sympathize with each other, and everything we do will promote LOVE and GOOD WORKS.

“Fifthly, we promise individually, to pay a respectful regard to the advice and admonitions of the church, and to be subject to its discipline as directed by the word of God, and conducted in the Spirit of the gospel.

We will pay respect to the advice and guidance of the church, and will be subject to BIBLICAL DISCIPLINE as the church sees fit.

“Sixthly, we promise to contribute in a reasonable manner, according to our ability, for the support of public worship and the relief of the poor in the church and to use our influence to forward and promote the interest of the Redeemer’s kingdom in the world; that we will be careful to conduct ourselves with uprightness and integrity and in a peaceful and friendly manner toward mankind in general and toward serious Christians of all descriptions, in particular; that we will also pay a conscientious regard to civil government, and give it our support, as an ordinance of God.

We promise to TITHE, to GIVE to efforts of the church, to be people of INTEGRITY, and we will be INVOLVED and SUPPORT civil government, an establishment of God.  And we will work to use our influence to advance the Kingdom of God in this world! 

And this covenant we make, with the free and full consent of our souls, hoping through rich, free and boundless grace we shall therein be accepted of God, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty, power and dominion, everlasting.  Amen.”

Today’s sermon: Time for a Reboot?

14 Oct

The Next Few Steps

11 Oct

A lot of folks have asked what our next few steps will be at EBC.  What do we do now??  Today, we are a church without a student minister…  Where do we go from here?

The process is already at work.  We are receiving resumes from several different sources in the next few weeks.  Personnel will soon begin to review these and pray.  This is the process through which we found Justin (and every youth minister we’ve had) and it is very much a trust and pray process!  I’ve told several folks, “We need to be asking God now who He wants for this position.  NOT telling Him who we want!!”  So IMMEDIATELY you can begin to pray!!

As for day-to-day operations of our Student Ministry, we are thankful that Paige Self will be available to help us for a few months, continuing in her role as Student Ministry Intern.  Between her, Hunter Gregg, Ed Self, Pam Gaddy, me, and our Youth Council and Youth SS Teachers, Student Ministry at EBC WILL CONTINUE!!  Our plan is that we will not miss a beat!!

What does the Crash need from YOU??  PRAY.  Please pray and STAY PLUGGED IN!!  I’ve been asked on a couple of occasions “What if the Crash falls apart??”  The answer to that is this:  “It WON’T as long as YOU don’t allow it to!!!”