Archive | January, 2013

Hey Dad!! They’re watching …

31 Jan

Yes, I’m calling ALL dads out.  Again.  I wish all of you could’ve heard Chris Wells last Thursday.  He welcomed all to our Wild Game Supper, but made no bones about the fact that he was talking to men as he preached.  Why??

Dad, if YOU lead your family to the throne, the chances of your children doing the same is very high.  Over 80%.  Now, when I write “lead them to the throne” I mean more than just coming to church or bringing them and coming back to pick them up.  In fact, going to church is only a PART of leading them to His throne.  When I write this, I mean you take seriously your relationship with Christ.  You live by faith and not by sight.  And NOT that you brainwash your kids to do this (because that would do them NO GOOD AT ALL), but that you show them by how you live your life that God is real and His promises are true.  Because they ARE watching.

Due to the vast number of funerals we’ve had at Ebenezer and for family members of those who attend Ebenezer, I am reminded that there will be a day when people will gather around a casket and view my remains.  Hopefully that day is FAR, FAR away.  But still, it will happen.  And I wonder what they will say about me??  Not that I desire accolades, but everyone wants to be remembered as someone who treated people well.  But what I am really concerned with is how my children will remember me.  How my wife will remember me.  They know me far better than anyone else.  Do they see the reality of the power of God in my life???

If they don’t, I am not doing my job.  NOT AS A PASTOR, but as a husband and a dad.

Hey Dad!!  They really are watching … What do they see?

A very pracitical thought for Ebenezer

30 Jan

There is a strategic purpose for this blog entry.  It applies to Ebenezerites and really ANYONE who is involved in some type of pastor search, so if this applies to you, read on!!

As our search continues (and we ARE making progress), there will come a day and time when the Personnel Team at EBC will present to the church a candidate for our vacancy in Student Ministry.  HOWEVER, with the advent of Twitter and Facebook, the rules have changed somewhat and we need to respect them!

When we DO have a candidate to consider, we certainly need to pray for that one but also respect where they are in life.  Whether leaving a ministry or another profession, we need to respect their privacy and allow them to make that departure on THEIR terms.  This means we need to keep that candidate’s name off of social media until a time when we know it is okay to do otherwise.  Then, WELCOME and LOVE that person with all of the social media you want!!!

Nothing could be more devastating to a candidate than to have such a decision made public in a manner that is inconsiderate of the feelings of those he might leave behind.  We know from experience that it hurts to lose a family member, and we want to make any transition as easy and smooth as possible.

We don’t have a name for you next week (or anything like that), but this is something we all need to start thinking on.  Hope you have a great week!!!


Decisions ahead… Who will make them??

28 Jan

We had a great quarterly business meeting last night at Ebenezer.  (Has ANY pastor EVER blogged that before??)  And I am quite serious!!  There was some good discussion about where our Weekday Ministry is headed, and where the church is headed, too!!

We started the HOW Campaign in late 2008… Just about a month before the economy took a major dive in the United States.  And yet, our church was faithful.  We built the Youth Assembly Building, pushing it ahead of the Sanctuary and addition education space because the need was great.  Architects worked hard with our New Facilities team to create a plan.  Many people worked HARD for hours.  And there we were, with thorough sanctuary blue prints, money slowly coming in, waiting on a decision… And waiting … and waiting.

Some people have looked to me to press the button:  I will do that as soon as God tells me to!  But He hasn’t.  And I had no idea why until a few months ago!!

I’ve been a firm believer that He sets the time table and He says when and He says what!!  And here we are:  The greatest need before us right now is educational space, both for our Sunday School AND for our Weekday Ministry.  And when I look at where God is at work in Ebenezer, He is definitely at work in our Weekday, where many people (both churched and unchurched) are lining up around the block to get their children a spot in our kindergarten/day care.  And these people are paying us money to tell their children about Jesus!!!  And for some of these, this will be the only connection to a church they will have!!!  So we get this awesome opportunity to tell them about Christ and BE the church to them!!

Bottom line is this:  We have BIG decisions ahead.  WHO WILL MAKE THEM??  Will WE??  Or will God??  When I look at what is happening here, I see the great need of more space AND almost enough money in the bank RIGHT NOW to meet that need AND to invest in the Family Life Center as a possible temporary worship location!!  But, this decision is not really mine to make.  And it is not really yours.  It belongs to God!!

Pray and seek His will for all of this!!  If we come together and ask Him, HE WILL ANSWER!!

Today’s sermon

27 Jan

The Prominence of Stuff from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

On a roll …

21 Jan

As far as the sermon topics so far this year go, God is on a roll.  And we are exploring holy living at Ebenezer.  This Thursday there will be yet another chapter of what He has in store for us on 2013 as we have our Annual Wild Game Supper.  The food will be good, the props will be great, and Chris Wells will be our guest speaker.  Chris is a pro-fisherman and chaplain to his fellow pros!!  He is also an evangelist who specializes in challenging men like us with … guess what … living for Christ.  I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for us this week!!

But, we don’t have to wait for Thursday to have an encounter with God.  You can encounter Him EVERY DAY if you look for where He is at work and join Him.  I’m praying we will ALL find Him at work today and do just that!!

Today’s sermon: For Everything there is a Season

20 Jan

For Everything there is a Season from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

Don’t forget this!

16 Jan

I will never forget August of 1991.  I was a young man (VERY LITTLE GRAY HAIR), had a great job, had found my soul-mate, and we had a 9-month-old baby girl who slept very little (and she still doesn’t) who was the absolute world to us!!  And I finally reached this point where I could run from God no longer.  So, I surrendered to His call.  Resigned from a really good job with no idea where my next paycheck would come from.  People were patting me on the back, telling me they would pray for me, and life was good!!

Diana and I were sitting in a worship service in Enoree Baptist Church.  It was the first or second Sunday of August.  Something in that worship service tripped a switch in my head and it began to sink in … WHAT HAD I DONE??  I had walked away from a really good job at a growing company and now I had no idea how I would provide for my family!!  WHAT HAD I DONE TO THEM???  Needless to say, the devil was having a field-day playing ping-pong with my head.

What was really happening was the REALITY of needing to trust God had hit.  My pulse raced and my heart was heavy.  It was one of the biggest crossroads I’d ever faced in life.  Would I trust Him??  Would I trust myself??

And then the guest speaker said something.  It was the easiest verse I’ve ever memorized, because I knew it by heart after I heard it the first time.  IT SPOKE TO ME RIGHT WHERE I WAS, and when the devil heard it, the ping-pong match with my head and heart IMMEDIATELY stopped:

Proverbs 3:5-6   Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight!

Suddenly, there I was realizing that I JUST NEEDED TO TRUST GOD!!  I was nervous … anxious .. heck, I was scared out of my skin!!  And God said “If you will JUST TRUST ME, I WILL WORK IT ALL OUT!!”

I don’t know what kind of worry you have in your life right now.  But I KNOW some of you have worry.  But Diana and I are LIVING PROOF that the promises of God are TRUE!!  If I continued and just scratched the surface of that truth here, I could shut down the internet.

DO NOT FORGET THIS:  You can count on Proverbs 3:5-6!!!

The REST of Good to Great

14 Jan

Ok, yesterday when I referred to Good to Great by Jim Collins, I talked about passion for the vision of an organization.  There were several other key elements of organizational greatness I left out.  I probably won’t remember them all, but there were a few that made a real impact on me.  Such as:

Get the right people on the bus!  Your organization needs the right people for it!  Those who fit.  Those who are apt to adapt and make a difference in your organization.

Get the wrong people off the bus!  Not typically something that would fit a church mind you, but in a business organization, if there are “right people” for your organization, then there must be “wrong people”.  Those who do not fit.  They need to go (according to Collins).

Get the right people into the right seats on the bus!  Another powerful strategy for any organization (and especially a church) is to make sure you have the right people playing the roles that suit them.  Playing the roles that fit their skill set and their calling!!  Having the right people on the bus is not enough … Having the wrong people in the wrong roles can damage an organization.

There is even MORE to the book that all of this.  It really is worth the read!!  However, just as I said yesterday, I hope the passion for what God has called you to do will light a fire in your heart, today and everyday!!!!

Today’s sermon: Good to Great

13 Jan

Good to Great from Ebenezer BC on Vimeo.

Not as easy as it looks

10 Jan

Over two decades ago, I answered a call to God.  Left a promising career in information technology to pursue whatever God called me to and wherever He called me to go.  It took this young family from Easley, SC, to Tigerville, SC, for nine months and then to New Orleans, LA, for three years.  CULTURE SHOCK!!  It would be bad enough to move from Easley to the Big Easy, but from TIGERVILLE???  Wow.  And that is an understatement.

God led us from North Greenville College (now UNIVERSITY) to the Gentilly area of New Orleans East and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  Any time I tell natives I lived in New Orleans East, they look twice at me and the respect level goes up!!  It was FAR from an “easy” place to be!!

Diana, Krissy, and I moved down there with little more than the promise that God was calling us down there and HE was in control.  And it was one of the greatest times in my life!!  We saw His hand working DAILY in our survival!!  Nothing will ever replace that experience.

Over the past few weeks (and especially the last two), circumstances have me and several other staff members working hard with the Youth Council to continue youth ministry.  We have been without a youth pastor since early October, and the natives are getting restless.  And so are all of us!!  I can assure you that all of this job is not as easy as it looks … and if you thought Justin, or Wes, or Sidney, or any other youth minister at Ebenezer in years past DID NOT work hard — YOU ARE WRONG.  And I am reminded of that RIGHT NOW.

But, with all of that written, there is one more truth to share in this blog entry:  I AM CONFIDENT that GOD has the PERFECT PERSON to be our next youth pastor.  And I am also confident that the best thing we can do is BE PATIENT and WAIT ON GOD.  Rest assured that we and the personnel team are working as hard as God will allow us to work on this!!    And we are dedicated to getting it right … not just putting a warm body in the job.

And I guess my time in New Orleans taught me this:  God WILL NOT FORSAKE US.  He has a plan.  Wait on Him.  Encourage your youth (if you have any) to do the same.  I promise if we wait on Him and get it right, it will be WELL WORTH the wait!!!