Archive | October, 2012

A Different Day

10 Oct

Yes, today will be a day like none we’ve seen at Ebenezer in quite a while.  Today is the last day of J. Frank McAlpin’s employment at Ebenezer Baptist Church.  (J Frank is his evangelist name … We know him as Justin)

Today will be a sad day at EBC and a happy day.  There are many reasons for sadness and tears, and there are many reasons to be happy about this.  I personally am sad because I love Justin like he is my little brother and have spent every week with him for the past seven and a half years.  For me, it’s not that he has done an EXCELLENT JOB as student minister and as a support for me … And you guys will never know what a support he has been for me … But, it’s more the fact that he IS family.  Period.  We on staff have had an unbelievable run of good relationships and working together, and that is a testament to our staff.  Justin has been a big part of that.  We all consider him as family, and we will all be a little sad.

We KNOW God has a plan in this, a plan to prosper ALL OF US and NOT TO HARM US.  He has a plan for Justin, He has a plan for Westmeade, and yes, He has a plan for Ebenezer.  That is a reason TO BE HAPPY!!  We’ve been blessed at Ebenezer when you consider we have long tenures in ALL of our ministerial positions.  The average tenure of a full-time Southern Baptist minister is 18 MONTHS.  ANOTHER REASON TO BE HAPPY!!  If Justin refused to answer a call of God in His life, it would negate everything for which he stands.  I am thankful he is willing to be obedient, even if it is tough.  ANOTHER REASON TO BE HAPPY!!

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  And the good things FAR OUTWEIGH the bad.  So, there will be tears.  But there is also great reason to praise God!  And, He inhabits the praise of His people!!  THAT IS WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO DO TODAY!!

JMac … I love you, bud!!  And I refuse to accept the fact that you are anything less than a missionary, sent by Ebenezer to Alabama!!!!!

Pray then Vote

9 Oct

Late Saturday night, Drew and I got back to the house and found another sign in my yard:  A sign that says Pray then Vote.  I love it, and absolutely agree with it.  And I wondered who put it there… Had my list of suspects, and it turns out the one who put it there wasn’t even on the list!!  No matter, I am glad it’s there and pray it provokes thought for the next few weeks and time propels us towards the most important election day of  the 21st Century.

Another friend of mine tweeted about one of these signs.  She added the thought that we need to pray AND know the issues AND vote.  I think she is right, too.  When it comes to the vote, I believe in trusting God just as I believe in trusting Him with everything else in life.  And I believe in knowing the issues and the candidates.  Knowing their platforms and their values.  Not just voting because someone runs with a particular party or group, but really knowing what they believe.  And comparing them to my values and beliefs.  And for me, that carries a BIG influence on what I do with my vote.

Over the years I have also learned to know the candidates as much as I can personally know them.  And that probably WON’T HAPPEN if I just believe what is written about them in the press.  I personally know if local media decides to pump a candidate, they will paint the most rosy and unrealistic picture of that candidate even if they are NOTHING like this picture.  I’ve watched that happen even this year.  And, I’ve seen good candidates attacked for no good reasons other than they didn’t bow down to this or that (I have a friend who is going through that right now).

Personally, I want a candidate who won’t bow down.  And if you look hard enough, you just might find one.  There are one or two of those out there in local races this year!!

So, heed the sign and dig a little deeper.  PRAY!!  INFORM YOURSELF!!  PRAY SOME MORE!!  Then VOTE!

What does it mean?

8 Oct

A question:  What does it really mean to be a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church??  To be a member of ANY church, for that matter??  Should it mean something?

I think so.  It means so much more than merely having a name on a church roll and a sense of pseudo-security.  Church membership is a commitment to God AND to a family of faith.  I’ll talk more about that from the pulpit this coming Sunday.  But, rest assured it SHOULD mean something.  At Ebenezer, our church fathers developed a membership covenant in 1823.  And, honestly, we have strayed.  Sometimes I wonder if it is time for us to REBOOT!!

Hope you have a great week and praying that we all (not only Ebenezerites) can BE THE BODY OF CHRIST THIS WEEK!!!

Today’s sermon: Live the Life

7 Oct

All around us

4 Oct

Henry Blackaby wrote in Experiencing God that God is at work all around us. All of the time. Our job is to find Him at work and JOIN HIM!! I believe that with all of my heart. I believe that the times we don’t see Him at work are due to the fact that we are not looking for Him. He is at work all around us! On the other hand, that can present problems to our human nature.

In a church like Ebenezer, God should be at work in MANY PLACES. There are over 1,300 members of Ebenezer Baptist Church. He is at work somewhere around every one of us and wants us to join Him!! The problem presents itself when our human nature tells us WE are the only one working for Him. What WE are doing for Him is the ONLY THING GOING… When we do not leave room in our minds and hearts for others to be at work with Him in other places, we limit God and aggravate each other.

In other words, in a church the size of Ebenezer we MUST realize that there are many things happening for the Kingdom of God. Even though in our minds tell us ours is the most important thing, it actually is one part of a tapestry that IS Ebenezer Baptist Church. A tapestry that IS the Kingdom of God.

Remember today that God is at work in MANY PLACES ALL AROUND US. He is big enough to do that. Are we big enough to recognize it???

Papa

3 Oct

Man, my grandfather was awesome!!  He really was the best!!  He died over 17 years ago, but would’ve been 100 if he’d lived until today.

He wasn’t perfect, but if I can be half the man he was, I think I’ll be okay.  He had 12 grandchildren, and had of way of making every one of us feel special.  Some of my best times with him were spent in a boat or on the bank of a pond/lake with fishing poles in our hands.  In our days, we caught some fish.  And we had many days where all we did was drown worms and minnows .. (Can you drown a minnow???  Anyway …)  It wasn’t the fishing, or the cleaning fish, or cleaning the boat that mattered.  It was time that made all the difference.  That is what I remember.  That is what made him the best!!

And, I’ve got 11 cousins who feel the exact same way as I do.  He really was the best!!  Miss you, Papa!!

Dangerous Rumors

1 Oct

Yes, it has started.  Justin resigned last Wednesday because God is calling him to a church in Alabama.  The mourning process has begun.  And so have the rumors!!

I’ve already heard too many rumors.  NONE of them even come close to the truth!!  The truth is what he shared with our youth:  God is calling him, and he must obey!!  END OF STORY!!  No controversy.  No anger or disappointment with our youth OR with our church. But that hasn’t stopped those who are watching from the outside from starting rumors.  (I even heard a detailed rumor of how I am planning to leave EBC when my son graduates WFHS in May!!  Again, NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH!)

It is human nature to make up answers when we do not have them and are too lazy to seek the truth.  A very dangerous part of human nature.  A part of human nature that Satan LOVES to exploit.  If he can use anything in this to cause division at Ebenezer Baptist Church, he will do it and do it with glee!!

Ironically, no one realizes this is hard for Justin, too.  He is mourning as much as we are, because we have been a loving family to him for over 7 1/2 years.  He will miss us as much as we miss him.  But God is calling him.  And we WANT him to be the kind of man that would answer that call.

So, if questions still remain, do yourself and our church a favor and ask Justin!!  He will tell you the truth!!