Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Last Sunday morning I awoke to find that my automobile had been stolen. This is the automobile that I (and the credit union) have owned for less than a month.

I must confess that at first I was greatly disappointed. This was my car. The one I had searched for across a period of months. My rolling office. My first response was to "pray down fire from perdition" upon whoever had ripped my life apart, then I realized that would probably mean fire would consume the car, so I quickly stopped praying in that manner.

The following hours rolled by quickly. A fine officer from the SPD responded to our call for assistance and gave me a report, I filed a report with my insurance carrier, Geico, I preached in our Sunday morning service, attended a leadership team meeting, made a hospital call and preached in our Sunday evening service.

During the day I reflected upon the incident. My house was invaded, keys were taken, money was missing and the car was gone. At first glance this was not a 5-star day. During the Bible Study time I learned that one of our Deacons, James Jentgens (Dorothy's husband) was going to need a third procedure related to the two brain aneurysms. Friday he will undergo another coil procedure related to the anuerysms. Upon further reflection, no one was injured during the home invasion, the money can be replaced and the car, is in the final analysis, just a car.

So, I asked God to forgive my ingratitude. I encourage you to join me in praying for my friends James and Dorothy Jentgens. Also, the car was found on Tuesday morning. It is in the shop for cosmetic repairs to the interior and re-keying.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For What Are You Thankful?

What you are thankful for speaks volumes about that which is important to you. At this Thanksgiving season take to time to determine what you are thankful for.

I am thankful for Ruthi, Ralph, Marci and John, Steven, Solveig and Bill, Atreju and Uriah. God has been very good in providing me with a wonderful family.

I am thankful that God is God. He is wise, loving, kind, merciful, gracious and desires to bless those that follow Him. While I know that God has other characteristics, I am thankful for these. I am thankful that God saved me and called me to preach. I am thankful for the people of Southside Baptist Church that God allows me to pastor. I am thankful for the co-laborers God has provided me with in our staff and lay leaders; as well as staff I have been privileged to serve with in the past. I am thankful for the scores of people God has placed in my life with whom I share God's work: Dr. John Sullivan, Dr. Tom Kinchen, Dr. Dan Wade, Dr. Ron Fullerton, Dr. Cecil Seagle, Dr. Glen Owens, Dr. Craig Culbreth, Dr. David Burton and many local pastors that are a daily blessing.

I am thankful that God has allowed me to be a soul winner. I find no greater joy than that of leading a lost person to salvation. I am thankful for the more than 300 people who have received Christ in church services, revival services, visitation and in the by-ways of life this past year.

I have so much to be thankful for. Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless His Holy name!

Attempting to Connect the Dots...


Friday, November 16, 2012

What is the Task of the Church?

Every pastor and every church leader must answer the question: What is the task of the church? The  answer to this question determines the churches priorities, activities and budget.

For some the answer will be that of community service. Their emphasis will be to partner with organizations that are doing good deeds in the community. Surely, the church should do good.

For some the answer will be that of preservation. Their focus will be to determine what is best for themselves. Surely, the church should be preserved.

For some the answer will be that of building itself up. Their focus will be bigger buildings and better programs. Surely, the church should be built up.

For the scripture the answer is found in the Great Commission.
And Jesus came and spake unto them saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  
Matthew 28:18-20
Satan's greatest tool is to get the church to do good things when God wants His church to do His thing. The Great Commission is God's "thing" for the church. This is what we are to be doing. Yes, we will do good things when we do the Great Commission. However, we do not always do the Great Commission when we do good things.

It is the church's never ending task to win people to Christ, Baptize those we have won to Christ and teach them the things He  has taught us. The measure of our work will not be found in the good we have done, the preserving of our existence or the size of our buildings and programs. The measure of our work will be in the people we have won to Christ, baptized and led to maturity in Him.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Few Humble Musings

Much has already been written concerning the election of 2012. No doubt many wiser and more prominent personalities will weigh in in the the days ahead. Allow me a few humble musings.

The election results reveal a continuing secularization of America. Two possibly three states passed amendments approving same sex marriage. The elected President campaigned on the most secular platform in the history of our nation. Recently, Lifeway research revealed that 20% of Americans claim no religious preference. These reveal a dramatic and rapid shift away from a culture that has been identified by a Judeo-Christian ethic.

The election results reveal a growing participation on the part of the electorate. This is a good thing. Apathy is a great enemy to democracy. Interestingly, evangelical voters who comprise one of the single largest voting blocks seem to not be as interested in participating.

The election reflects the growing ethnic and cultural diversity of our nation. Young voters, African-American voters and Hispanic voters are increasing as the populace continues to grow in theses groups. America is no longer dominated by an Anglo ethos.

The election reveals a continued division in our nation. The popular vote may prove to be the closest in history. However, this division is not new nor is it likely to disappear.

This election reveals the need for believers to trust God. My candidate did not win. I did not win all of
of the races or issues upon which I voted. However, the sun still rose this morning and God is still on His throne. While we may not understand all that God is doing in America, He has a plan and He is still God. We must trust Him.

The election reveals the need for believers to obey the Word of God. We have exercised the privilege of voting. Now we must pray for those who have been elected. Pray that God will cause a change of heart where such change is needed. Pray that God will guide and over shadow our leaders. Pray that America might once again become the kind of nation that God can bless. With all of its challenges, America is still the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

I could probably go on. Allow me to close with this thought.

We are rapidly becoming a culture that is eerily similar to the culture the first century church faced. A culture that persecutes Christian faith. A culture that is in opposition to the teachings of the Word of God. A culture that is in desperate need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember, it was in this culture that the Gospel flourished and ultimately changed the civilized world.

The solutions to the problems our nation faces are not political, they are spiritual. When God's people become light in a dark world and salt in a decaying culture, then God will heal our land. We must live for Jesus passionately and proclaim His Gospel personally and corporately.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...


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