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Day One

16 Sep

Day One of the Family Worship Weekend is HERE!!!  This is a day for which we’ve prayed for months.  And our prayer is simply this:  That families in our area will draw closer to God and closer to each other as a result of what He does this weekend!!

I know there are several “distractions” for this weekend (Clemson V Auburn, USC V Navy, opening day of deer season for rifles), and yet this is where God led us and this is where we are.  As I write this, Jeff Slaughter and Tom Blackaby are already preparing for this weekend.  I am preparing for a funeral, but after that, it’s all about what God will do tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday. And my prayer is EVERY FAMILY that needs a closer walk with God and a closer walk with each other will be there!!

The schedule is:

TONIGHT – 7pm – Worship Rally with dessert social afterward

SATURDAY – 4pm – Session ONE (Adults with Tom and kids with Jeff)

5:30    Supper in the FLC

7:00    Combined worship in FLC

SUNDAY –     9:15am   Sunday School

10:30am  Combined Worship in FLC

More Scandalous, Juicy Gossip about Ebenezer

12 Sep

Yeah … I’ve got to stop using titles like that.  Sadly, though, it is guaranteed to get people to read this blog entry!!!

Today I want you to know how excited I am about our Family Worship Weekend coming up this weekend (September 16, 17, & 18) with Jeff Slaughter and Tom Blackaby.  This event is for ANYONE and EVERYONE (not just Ebenezerites) and has been prayed over and designed to bring families BACK to a right worship relationship with each other, and most of all with God!!  Our staff and some other hard-working Ebenezerites have worked to bring this thing to fruition and all we now need is YOU!!  YOU to PRAY … YOU to BE THERE and SEE what God has in store for us all!!!

It all starts Friday night at 7pm with the Family Reunion, a time for all of us to gather and enjoy each other and enjoy GOD!!

Saturday, Session 1 starts at 4pm followed by Dinner at 5:45 (please contact the church office and let us know if you are coming to dinner) followed by Session 2 at 6:30.

Sunday morning, we will be on our combined schedule with Sunday School at 9:15 and Combined Worship  in the FLC at 10:30 (with NO Evening Worship).

God is doing something really exciting here!!!  Hope you will come and see!

I believe in God

28 Jul

Have you ever watched “My name is Earl?”  Earl was a small-time petty criminal who had something good happen in his life, saw Carson Daly talking about kharma in an interview, and decided to dedicate his life to righting the wrongs he’d done to keep kharma on his good side!!  Funny sitcom premise … but is it real???

Well, I believe God has a sense of humor.  AND sometimes what goes around comes around.  Our sin will come back to us in ways that are more than coincidental.  But, believe me, God is in control of all that exists!!

Probably 14 years ago, Ebenezer had a men’s basketball league.  It is solely responsible for the blood pressure medicine I take today!!!  As Minister of Youth and Recreation, I had the unfortunate pleasure of directing that league when I could find no one willing to do it (because of stuff like this).  I’ll never forget the night a young man was thrown out of a game and he got wildly angry.  He was out of control.  The last thing he told me as he was dragged out of the Family Life Center by his team was “I’ll burn this building down!!!”  That league was so bad this didn’t even alarm me.  It was mild in comparison to some of the things people had screamed at me because they’d been suspended for fighting, or cussing refs out, or cussing me out.  I didn’t even bother reporting it.  But, what happened next was definitely a God-thing!!

Back then, Kenney Boone(who is a member at EBC) was the arson investigator for the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.  He’d invited the guys on church staff to come down to Effingham and tour the jail.  It happened to be the day after this incident.  As we were touring the jail, we rounded a corner AND THERE HE WAS.  I don’t even remember his name, but he worked at the jail!!!!  And I was there with the arson investigator!!!!  I think he soiled himself ….

What is the moral of this story??  God knows and hears EVERYTHING.  God is a God of justice.  And He has a sense of humor!  Don’t ever threaten to burn His house down!

Be careful, little mouth, what you say!

18 May

Circumstances this week reminded me of something that happened a long time ago, but has a valuable lesson attached.  So, here goes:

Many years ago, I had a friend that coached Dixie Youth baseball.  As adults sometimes do, there were some who tried to do some unethical things and wanted to pull this man in … But he wouldn’t bite.  This setup culminated in a confrontation between my friend and another.  It was not a pretty scene at the park!

The day after this scene, my friend came to me and told me everything.  I encouraged him to keep doing the right thing, and admired him afterward for the guts it took to stand up.  He died later that day in a freak accident.  (This is a true story)

I wonder now, years later, how this impacts those who were giving him such a hard time for their agendas??  I also use this to remind me to be careful how I conduct myself with others!  This reminds all of us there are no guarantees for tomorrow, and we should all be ready to meet our Maker by knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Savior!!

Most of all, it reminds me of this song I learned in preschool:  Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say!!  Hope you have a good day!  And … let’s be careful out there!

A Special Race & an Exceptional Young Man

26 Apr

Many Florentines remember the story of a tragic accident almost two years ago that claimed the life of Taylor Elmore.  Taylor was days away from starting his senior year at West Florence High School.  Like his mom, dad, and big brother, Taylor was an avid runner.  The following are details from his mom about the annual race in memory of Taylor:

I hope all of you are doing well. Greg and I just got back from Pennsylvania yesterday. We ran in our 9th state for Taylor.

Taylor’s race is on the 21st of May this year. It will be his 19th birthday. This year we are having a 5k/10k and a fun run for children 10 and under with the pirates. We’ll also have food, Mills Brown tshirts, tops for Taylor, face painting, music, and door prizes.

People can register at www.active.com. All of the money raised will be put into Taylor’s non-profit organization to help support The Florence County Track and Cross Country Club, A scholarship for The College of Charleston, and sneakers for runners in need.

Both races will start at 8 am with the Fun Run after. Once again, this event will be held at West Florence High School.

Let me know if you need any more information and thank you for helping to spread the word about the race.

Belinda Elmore

Sounding off about FSD1 & Godly influence

15 Apr

Last night, the Florence School District One board was backed into a corner by an anonymous complainant. The complaint? Superintendent Brooks and Delmae principal Jolley have sent emails with Christian content to their employees, and someone complained. As Robert D. Raiford used to say, ” we have become the United States of the Offended.”

What is really happening here?

I personnally know Dr. Brooks and Mrs. Jolley. The great “sin” committed by both of them was trying to encourage their charges. Both of them are VERY respectful of others and their beliefs. I can promise you this was not intended to offend, only to help. (in some ways, THEIR rights are now violated … Oh … I forgot … Followers of Christ don’t have rights these days)

I also personally know several school board members (one, Wllard Dorriety, is a close friend). I can also assure you they had a most difficult time with this decision. Their charge is to do the right things for our district, and between he, Porter Stewart, and a couple of other sane members of the board, I’ll guarantee this was a hard-reached decision and one none of them were too happy about.

I do not know the anonymous complainant. Did this person contact Mrs. Jolley or Dr. Brooks? Did this person go straight to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State? We’ll never know. And that is probably best.

One thing is for certain: Now, more than ever, Satan is attacking our families, our churches, our communities, our community leaders, and anything or anyone who builds the Kingdom of God with their lives. And that, friends, is EXACTLY what is going on here.

And there will be a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And, if the AUSCS wants to threaten a suit on that, they’d better do their homework!!!

http://www2.scnow.com/news/pee-dee/2011/apr/14/no-more-religious-e-mails-florence-1-schools-ar-1717608/

Why must it be this way??

25 Jan

This summer, Justin McAlpin shocked Ebenezer one Sunday while preaching.  He basically talked about how tough my job is and how he couldn’t BELIEVE the junk I put up with as pastor of EBC.  THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL ABOUT CHURCH LEAGUE BASKETBALL right now!!

I am thankful for Andrew Parker, who has directed our league for several years now (and played in this same league when he was a kid).  I am thankful for Justin, who faithfully serves as our staff liason to the league and helps Andrew make it happen.  I am most thankful because I don’t have to TOUCH it anymore.  Because I cannot believe the junk that happens!!

The sad part is, many of the problems we have with the league trace back to the same churches every year.  Coaches and parents, getting way too angry with referees and taking it out on our league staff.  Players taking this way too seriously and doing stupid things during and after games.  (Central got beat last night and one of their kids peeled out way too hard on the youth house road out of anger … I can only hope he knocked his front end out of line!!)  (Yeah, okay … BAD DAVID … I said it to myself)

There are several things we must remember:

  • MOST of the participants of this league DO NOT act like this.  Only a few bad apples every year make this a rough experience.
  • This league DOES SERVE a great purpose for fellowship and for recreation.  And I know a TON of people who are grateful it happens.
  • Our battle is not with FLESH AND BLOOD, but with Satan who tries to defeat ANYTHING that builds fellowship in the Kingdom of God.  Yes, Satan even attacks a church basketball league!!

Pray for Andrew, Justin, and this league.  Because it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.  We need to be praying!!

For Good OR For Bad?

16 Dec

This entry is SPECIFICALLY for parents, especially those who still have children at home.  This entry is for grandparents.  This entry is for ANYONE who influences a child!!!

At one time (many moons ago), I thought basketball was my life.  Played it since I could stand up.  Played AND coached for YEARS and YEARS!!  So, you might understand why I love this game and the church basketball league has a special place in my heart.  I am thankful for Andrew Parker and the HARD WORK (and THANKLESS WORK) he puts in every year to make this thing happen.  If I told you some of the things he’s had to endure, they would make you blush!!  (Some of them make ME blush!)

With that understood, I don’t think ANYONE can understand how hard it is to run that league unless you’ve done it.  I’ve done it.  Sidney Rainwater did it.  Wes Andrews did it.  Robin Miller did it.  Adam Swindler did it.  Goin back old school, Craig Goss did it.  AND IT AIN’T EASY!!!!

And most of the problems are from ….  you guessed it … PARENTS!  Not too long ago I was sitting at a game and a kid … a YOUNG kid … was sitting in the bleachers near me.  I couldn’t believe the bile that was coming from that kid’s mouth!  It was venom.  It made me wonder if he hates this league so much, WHY DOES HE PLAY??  Sadly, I know there is some influence coming from his folks.  It made me stop and wonder how his life will turn out??

Parents, PLEASE BE CAREFUL TO PREPARE YOUR CHILDREN FOR LIFE!!!  If they grow up thinking everything is everyone else’s fault, they will never learn to function in this world!  And, rest assured, you will be paying bail and lawyer fees well into their adulthood.  I’ve seen it happen 100 times.  It all starts RIGHT NOW!  Watch what you say TO THEM and what you say AROUND THEM!!  YOU ARE MOLDING THEIR LIVES RIGHT NOW!!

Will you do it for GOOD or for BAD??  Jesus asked what parent would ever give his child a ROCK when that child needs BREAD??  Use some common sense and DO THE RIGHT THING!! For their sake!!!

And by the way … IT’S JUST BASKETBALL!  IT IS NOT A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH!!  If you set your kid in the life and death mode for CHURCH BASKETBALL, you are only investing in a future ulcer!!

The Y

20 Aug

I am about to go to the Y.  Something I do almost every day.  But before I do, I want to tell you a little story about some things that are going on and hopefully shed a little truth about some things you might hear in the coming months …

YES, it is true that the national Y organization is changing their logo and some of their emphases.  And YES, it is true that our local Florence Family YMCA is a part of the national organization, just like every other YMCA on the face of the earth.

The rumor that is out there right now is the Y is taking the “C” out of the YMCA.  That a concentrated effort is being made to remove Christ from the YMCA.  And that has some people riled up.  Angry.  Ready to drop their memberships and go to other gyms.

IRONY #1:  What other gym in the area places such an emphasis on Christian, family values than the Y??  Many other fitness centers in Florence are very successful, and have many Christian members, and place NO emphasis on Christ whatsoever.

I attended a meeting yesterday with Jerry Dixon (our Y CEO) and SEVERAL pastors from churches in our area who, like me, are regular Y attenders.  Several things were discussed:

We DO and plan to CONTINUE to emphasize the CHRIST in YMCA, no matter what happens with the official logo or name.  And I’ve been in several Ys across South Carolina … NOBODY does it better than WE DO!!  And our plan is to CONTINUE!!

Apparently a local Christian radio station broadcasted that all Ys are taking Christ out.  Well, I can’t speak for others, but I wish you guys had taken your journalistic influence seriously enough to investigate this before you broadcasted it.  Because that is NOT what is happening in Florence.

IRONY #2:  Some people hear something like this on Christian radio and take it for the gospel truth.  SEEK OUT THE TRUTH FOR YOURSELVES!!  The things broadcast DO NOT APPLY to the Florence Family YMCA.  I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I AM IN THERE EVERY DAY!!  Would love to talk to YOU about it one-on-one if you’d like.

Our discussion made its way around to the fact that so many Christian people, members of OUR churches, are members of the Y.  Hear this well, Florence:  THEY WILL NEVER TAKE CHRIST OUT OF OUR Y UNLESS THEY TAKE US OUT, OR TAKE HIM OUT OF US.  And according to the very words of Christ, NO ONE IS POWERFUL ENOUGH TO SNATCH US OUT OF HIS HANDS!!!

Did you ever think that WE are the C???  WAKE UP, FLORENCE.  THINK FOR YOURSELVES!!!!

Well, enough of this … time for me to go be the C at the Y!!!

VBS Finale

17 Jun

Yes, tonight is the last night of VBS at Ebenezer.  I don’t know the numbers from every night, but they were all in the mid-400s.  And that’s not REALLY the important thing at all …

This week, we’ve had the opportunity to share Christ with HUNDREDS of children and adults.  We’ve had rough spots and rocky roads.  We’ve seen storms and endured heat.  Our walk-in freezer decided to resign this week, probably carry-over from the lightning strike.  We’ve dealt with death, sickness, and probably pestilence.

And we are still standing!!  TO GOD BE THE GLORY!  And our prayer is that somehow, some way, somebody has received a seed of the Gospel that will flourish in their life.  And they will continue building the kingdom.

And if that only happens to ONE person this week, it is all worth it!!!!  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart!