Take Your Time

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

My grandfather Charlie has always been a solid source of wisdom for me. He once looked at me on an afternoon fishing trip and said, "Take your time." He wasn't talking about fishing - he was talking about life. Scripture speaks of time as a season in a man or woman's life. Time is to be received as grace. It is a gift and often a surprising one. Our family is entering a new season of time with excitement and joy. God has surprised us with a new season of time. We are taking it. I think my grandfather's advice is sound - Take your time. It is a gift from the hand of God! May God bless your times and seasons.

The End is Near: I Peter 4:7-11

Growing up in the South has given me an appreciation for the folk art that decorates the interstate highway between Dallas and Atlanta. REPENT! Get right or get left. THE END IS NEAR!!! All these slogans and many more call out to the prodigals of Dixie to straighten up. I'm not sure that reminders of life's brevity are all that bad. Peter spoke up and said years ago, "...the end of all things is at hand" (I Peter 4:7). Sometimes we need to be reminded of the fragility of life and the need to focus on the big things. Peter instructed the church to spend the little time they had focusing on tree things -

  • Disciplined Prayer
  • Hospitality
  • Stewarding the manifold grace of God given through spiritual gifts.

That sounds like a strategy for missional renewal to me. Join us tonight as we talk about this powerful passage of scripture.

"Doubting" Thomas' Scarred Up God

The Apostle Thomas is widely known for his doubting. I'm glad we don't all have to carry names binding us to our weak moments. There was a kid in our church in Monticello that called me Fat Matt for a number of years. Yes, it fit. No, it did not speak to other aspects of my life and devotion. I'm fat and Thomas doubted but that's just part of the story - the part to be restored by God's grace.

If you read John's gospel with care you will find that the strongest affirmation of Jesus' divinity came from the lips of "Confessing" (?) Thomas. Eugene Peterson tells it like this - Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don't be unbelieving. Believe." Thomas said, "My Master! My God!"

"My God!" That was Thomas's affirmation. "My God!" He declared the divinity of Jesus AFTER he touched his scars. Thomas confessed the craziest notion the world has ever known - God has scars. The God of blazing fire has scars. When it comes to brokeness - God gets it. We do not have a God that is unmoved by our challenges and suffering. Therefore we can join with the writer of Hebrews and encourage each other as Jesus encouraged Thomas -

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

From Great to Good

I appreciate the fact that Thom Rainer is now leading Lifeway. I think that he is a good researcher and believe that he will do good things at the Southern Baptist institution. Rainer and Ed Stetzer are two reasons that I can't give up totally on the SBC.

I, like many others, have been influenced by Rainer's book Breakout Churches: Discover How to Make the Leap. This book was based on the Jim Collins' Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't. Both works are filled with important information for churches seeking to increase their missional impact. Greatness is a noble goal but I was reminded today the goodness must not be left behind in pursuit of it.

On of my favorite pastors is Robert Creech of University Baptist Church in Houston, TX - www.ubc.org. I watch his sermons when I clean up my office. Recently Eric Swanson preached a sermon at UBC, Houston titled, From Great to Good, based on Acts 10:36-38. He talked about Jesus' ministry of goodness and how we need to follow his model. He pointed to three aspects of Jesus' good works -

  • Ministry of Mercy - making someone's day better
  • Ministry of Empowerment - making someone's life better
  • Ministry of Evangelism - making someone's eternity better

As a child I learned to pray - God is great! God is good! Let us thank him... In an effort to be truly Christian our desrire should be greatness AND goodness.

And God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Acts 10:38 (KJV)

Copyright © Broken Steeple