Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Summer Memories

Oh, wonderful summer! For my family, summer begins when the school bells stop ringing. There’s something nice and needed about a slower pace in summer. I always enjoy knowing that my wife and children have extra time to rest and play, and we all love getting away on some vacations.

Time flies. In many ways it seems like just last year when my wife and I brought our firstborn home to our house on Hickory Street in Clinton. I vividly recall rocking him as a baby, wondering and praying about what life for us would hold. Now he stands almost as tall as me.

Mom and dads, grandmas and grandpas, take some time this summer to make memories. I heard a man say years ago that wise people value people over possessions. What will you do in the next three months to invest time into the people who matter the most in your life?

Monday, July 16, 2018

True Foundations

If you or your church receive HomeLife magazine from Lifeway Christian Resources, check out my and Tracey's article in the July edition. True Foundations explores the solid impact Christianity had on our Founding Fathers and their vision for this nation.

We share ideas for teaching our children to respect our great nation and her heritage.

Picture used by permission from pixabay

Thursday, July 5, 2018

God Bless America!

I love the United States of America.  Every summer, our family enjoys celebrating the 4th of July with decorations, fireworks, food, and PBS’ A Capital Fourth.  I enjoy patriotic music almost as much as Christmas music, adding two new CD’s to my patriotic collection this year: American Jubilee by the Cincinnati Pops and For God and Country by Dolly Parton.

Three summers ago, my family toured our beloved capital, Washington, D.C.  We proudly toured the monuments, museums, and hallowed landmarks.  We witnessed one reality chiseled on stone -  the majority of our Founding Fathers had deep respect for the God of the Bible.  Though revisionists work meticulously to rewrite our history, the American experiment was one rooted in a Christian worldview.

John Quincy Adams said that the Declaration of Independence “laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”  In his speech delivered on July 4th, 1837, President Adams stated, "Why is it that next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [July 4th]? . . . Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of thenation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity . . . ."   

President John Adams said, "The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God."

These Fathers did not want a state-sponsored religion because they did not want the state to interfere with the religion of the people.  Instead, they expected and wanted the religion of the people to influence the state.  These Founders would not recognize the obsession in America today to “separate church and state.”

How different are the two Adams Presidents’ words from the outcry we hear today to keep Christianity, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments from the public square.   In the National Archives building in D.C., upon entering you gaze upon the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  Look at the floor and  notice the Ten Commandments depicted.  These Mount Sinai laws appear numerous places in the Supreme Court building, engraved on the huge oak doors entering the chambers.  Moses is the chief lawgiver engraved on top of the building above the steps out front.

Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, believed that the only way to preserve the new nation was to train the next generation in Christian teaching:

We profess to be republicans [not governed by a king], and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.

George Washington, addressing the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1789 shared that national morality could not prevail without religious principle.  To try and remove the religious influence is to “shake the foundation of the fabric” of our country.

Chief Justice John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Vice-President of the American Bible Society, understood this reality.  He wrote, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

Many years later, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, shares in his book A Nation Like No Other, “The Founders’ distinctively Christian faith is well documented, as is their conviction that government must be infused with Christian principles.”

Today, we see America tearing apart at the seams.  We have ignored her recipe for success.  We unashamedly need God in America again.

John Adams had it right: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Picture used from Pixabay.com

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Arise in Truth

True then and true today. The city and county of Laurens, South Carolina, bears their name from Henry Laurens, a political leader during the American Revolution, signer of the Articles of Confederation, and President of the 1777 Continental Congress.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

11 Advantages Of Having 50 Churches Of 100 Instead Of 1 Church Of 5,000

Big churches are great. But they’re very rare. And they’re not the only way to see the kingdom of God move forward.

American church culture tends to be fascinated by large numbers of both people and money - nickles and noses as some Southern Baptists use to say.  But Scripture testifies that God also delights in using small people in small places. As Zechariah reminds us, "Who despises the day of small things?'

Karl Vaters shares a great word here about the value of small churches:

"Church planters are some of the great heroes of the faith. Especially when you realize how many church plants fail within the first few years.

But I wonder, how many failed churches might still be alive and well today if we didn’t pressure them to reach numerical goals that most churches, even after decades of existence, fail to achieve?

What would happen if, instead of sending one church planter to start a church, hoping for it to reach (to pick an arbitrary number) 5,000 attendees, we sent out 50 church planters, and resourced them with the tools to grow to 100 on average?"

Picture used by permission from Pixabay.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Surely Goodness - Psalm 23

Lead Us, Spirit of God

Wonderful time of worship and message at The Brooklyn Tabernacle via their webcast. Awesome word from Brother Jim about the partnership of the Bible and the Holy Spirit in the life of today's believers: An Up Close and Personal God. Wonderful music and invitation.

Believers and churches today need to be led by the Holy Spirit - not just by people, tradition, or intellect. His plans, His mind, and His ability surpass ours. 

Listen to Jim Cymbala challenge the church in this Father's Day message from June 17, 2018.