Archive | December, 2012

Pics and plans for the Headboard

31 Dec

Links to plans:

Cut list for FULL sized bed which is what we built:

IMG_0995Just wood

An Open Letter to my Ebenezerites

31 Dec

Have I told you lately that I am proud of you??  I think that is allowed!!  In this day and age of economic stress YOU have been faithful to God and I am now able to write something that many pastors cannot write:  WE HAVE EXCEEDED OUR BUDGET IN GIVING FOR THE YEAR!!  And the fiscal year is not quite closed!!!

You are continuing to be faithful to God financially, spiritually, and physically in your service.  And, as your pastor, I am proud!!  Keep praying for our church and all that God is doing.  Keep seeking YOUR ROLE and doing it as well as you can!!  Don’t forget that Jesus Christ PROMISED to be with us in all things!  Do not fear, the Holy Spirit walks with you into every situation!!

All things considered, this is a great way to end the calendar year!!!  Have a great and safe New Year!!

A Gentle Reminder

30 Dec

At the end of each worship service today I did two things:  I thanked Paige Self for her hard work, serving as a youth intern with us since March.  During our youth ministry vacancy, she has filled many gaps to keep things going.  We are thankful for her and commit to pray for her and (after THIS Saturday) her HUSBAND Patrick McCabe as they move to Wake Forest, NC, where Patrick is enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Marriage is never easy, and seminary presents an entirely different set of stressers for them.  So pray for them!!!!

SECOND, PRAY FOR OUR YOUTH PASTOR SEARCH!!  God has the right person out there for us.  Already chosen by His hand.  Our personnel team is working as hard as we can, but God will do this in HIS timing and not ours.  Many people are starting to get antsy … Honestly, I am the antsiest of all!!  But we MUST allow God to do this in His timing.  Not ours.  We don’t need to hire someone … We need to FIND GOD’S CHOSEN ONE FOR THIS MOST IMPORTANT ROLE!!

Today’s sermon: Filling the Gaps

30 Dec

Filling the Gaps from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

A Difficult Christmas

28 Dec

Christmas has always been a time of the year filled with wonder for me.  Always a time when the little kid in me can still feel that spark of magic if you will … NOT taking away from the real meaning of Christmas in this, but there is something about gathering with family.  Being home in Easley.  Never knowing what Santa was going to do.  Enjoying time with family, especially with my mom and dad.  I basically left their home a little over 25 years ago to start a new home with my beautiful young bride, and Christmas has always been a time of coming back to that solid relationship with my parents and family.  And I have always loved it.

This year, however, was different.  It was good that both of my sisters and their families were home this Christmas. First time that has happened since 2003.  The population of mom and dad’s house went from 2 to 12 people, and no dogs to three.  Honestly, this year I never felt like we were too crowded or getting tired of being around all of those people.  Those people are my family and it was great!  But, that was only a bright spot in all of this.

This year was different.  Every time I go home I can see changes in Dad.  Not only is his memory going down, but his general awareness of where he is and who is there with him is quickly fading.  I see it in his eyes and hear it in our conversations.  I worry about Mom because I also see the toll this is taking on her.  She is overworked, yet very protective of her role … so much so that offering help is often met with a “no thank you.”

All of this has made for the most melancholy Christmas I’ve ever experienced.  I guess I’ve realized Christmas will never be the same again… Thought about that a lot as I drove yesterday.  We left Easley a little after 12, drove to Clemson to have lunch with Amy Williams and go by Krissy’s apartment so she could pick up a couple of things.  Then we drove to Charlotte to visit IKEA.  Then we tried to go to a Carrabbas in downtown Charlotte, and didn’t realize the Belk Bowl was going on in Charlotte (which Duke TANKED in the last minute and a half).  So we headed on down I-77, only to find bumper-to-bumper traffic at the state line due to a wreck.  We FINALLY made it to Carrabbas at Spring Valley, ate a great supper, and got home a little before 10pm.  It was the longest trip from Easley to Florence I’ve ever had.  A lot of driving time, maybe too much time to think.  At one point I was thinking “I can see how the Grinch got his start…”  Then I realized green is just not my color, so THAT is not an option even though Bailey would make a great “Max.”

All in all, I’ve got to get my head on straight concerning all of this.  This is where life has placed us …  It will be as miserable or peaceful as we allow it to be.  I KNOW my God will walk every step of this with me and my family.  Just didn’t expect it quite so soon, and quite like this.

Today’s sermon

23 Dec

All I want for Christmas from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

Staying on the mountain top??

18 Dec

I read something this morning in our Word for Today devotion book that really struck me.  Worth thinking more about.  In the context of God moving us out of our comfort zones, the writer wrote “It’s okay to wait on God for directions and the power to carry them out, but not to keep repeating some earlier experience you’ve had.”  But, WE LIKE THE MOUNTAIN TOP!!

I’ll never forget the first mountain top experience I had after accepting Christ.  It was in a youth worship rally … I was an adult youth worker, but it was powerful.  One of those worship times where I never wanted to leave.  Kind of like Student Life, Centrifuge, and their cousins, these worship experiences are designed to take us to the mountain top.

Just like Moses in Exodus (chapters 19-32).  Moses was up on Mount Sinai, FACE TO FACE with God (so to speak).  Certainly a POWERFUL time of worship for him.  But he had to come down.  God NEEDED Moses to lead the people.  I’ve always wondered if I’d been Moses, and I came down from this awesome time of God and saw the children of Israel, my flock, engaged in idolatry and other disgusting actions, worshiping a golden calf and absolutely not thinking about God at all, would I have said:  “Hey, guys … I think I left my phone up there.  Back in a little while!!”  And gone BACK UP there with God and said “It’s so nice up here with you, I want to stay FOREVER!!”

When we seek to construct our lives and the lives of our children to stay on the mountain top, we are actually in direct opposition to God’s will for our lives.  He calls us to the mountain top, and He also calls us into the valleys.  But He never calls us ANYWHERE that He won’t go with us … that He won’t EMPOWER us.  You KNOW it was hard for Moses to walk back down that mountain and do what he was called to do.  But he did it.  And God was glorified in the end.  And Moses was seen as righteous in God’s eyes …


16 Dec

WHOEVER from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

Get on the bus!!!

10 Dec

One of the most important facets of a church is leadership.  Helping the right people accomplish the right things to build the kingdom of God.  Who determines the right people??  Who determines the right things??  GOD.  This is the first building block in getting the bus going in the right direction.

Several years ago I read a book by Jim Collins called Good to Great.  I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot.  In this work, Collins studied several corporations in the US and analyzed what set them above others in their respective industries.  One of the most powerful ideas in this book was the concept of getting the right people into the right seats on the bus!!

I preach this and BEG the ministry selection team and nominating ministry team of Ebenezer to always find the right people for the right seats on the bus.  HOW DO WE DO THIS??  Pray.  Evaluate.  Pray more.  Open our eyes and ears to what is going on.  In order to help the right people find the right seats on the bus, you have to see and hear what is going on around you.  Getting the wrong people into the seat can be disastrous for a team called to accomplish a specific mission.  In my decades of church work, I’ve heard it before:  “I don’t know why they put me on the Sports Committee.  I HATE sports.”  A situation like that will make for a miserable time serving and a reluctance to serve again.  Find the right people for the right seats on the bus and GET THEM ON THERE!!!

I am thankful for our staff right now.  It’s Christmastime (one of the most stressful times of the year for us), we are short-staffed right now, and yet morale is good and everyone is pitching in to help.  Life goes on, and so does the church.  I came into the office today a little overwhelmed by all ahead of me this week, and it is nice to look around and see people that I know have my back.  The right people in the right seats.  That is why it is SOOO important to find the right person … God’s person … for our student ministry vacancy.

Pray for us.  And I’ll pray for you.  And, if you don’t have a seat on the bus, pray and ask God what He wants you to do.  And let me know!!!!!

And video #2

10 Dec

Rocking around Christmas Tree from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.