The Highways and Byways

Sent and Standing

We live in a culture that is flooded with religious noise. Many people are deaf to Christ's story in part because of the many men and women that speak for him. Our challenge it to live out the hope of Christ with compelling sincerity. We need to stand in his presence before we go to do his work. Here are a couple of verses that encourage this -

I did not send the prophets,
yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have
procliamed my words to
my people,
and they would have turned
them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their doings.
Jeremiah 23:21-22

For we are not peddlers of God's word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence. II Corinthians 3:17


We had a really good Thanksgiving and hope you did as well. Mom and Dad kept our kids so that we could go to a party at our friend's house the night before and that was really nice. Thank you Pop and Mimi! My brothers and I went hunting early Thanksgiving morning. I was hunting solitude more than anything else. I found it in the form of a fiber glass deer stand. The quiet woods gave me a chance to really think about things I am grateful for. Here is the short list -

1. Life (now and later) I don't want to ever take it for granted.

2. Meredith

3. Molly Katherine and Wes

4. the rest of my family

5. Friends

6. The ministry we have

God has been very good to us. Join us in praying - "Thanks!"

weekend Christianity

Jeremy Hill and I were talking last week about our friends from Trinidad visiting us. He said something that I think is really important. Jeremy said, "I think they would be disappointed." I knew what he meant. There is a large gulf between the commitment levels of our Trini friends and the average church goer in the American South. Our cultural brand of religion is unique and missionary travel reveals it. There was a quote from Jimmy Draper in the Baptist Record that further highlights this. Draper said -

It's interesting - the kind of weekend Christianity we have would be unknown in the New Testament. It would be unknown in most of church history.

It's time to go old school!

Honey in the Rock

I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. Psalm 81:16

A group of us from FBC, Meridian went to Trinidad last week to work with our sisters and brothers at the Mohess Road Missionary Baptist Church. They love to sing a song down there titled Honey in the Rock. Their version is a little hotter than ours but I love singing anything in the West Indies. The song reminds us of God's best gifts. As I have reflected on our trip I have made a short list of things that I think are important gifts of grace.

1. When you go on a mission trip with other Christians you are forced into situations that strengthen the bonds of fellowship. Dr. Leake was my roomate and I am grateful for the time we had to get to know each other better. I have a deeper respect for him and I'm grateful for his leadership. I also am grateful for the chance to get to know the rest of our team better. FBC is filled with wonderful and interesting people.

2. Mission trips are fun if you do them right!

3. Mission trips allow you to learn from Christians in different contexts. The Mohess Road Missionary Baptist Church is growing. They attribute this to a John the Baptist methodology: Prepare the way - get out of the way. Our friends in Trinidad are wonderful people and we learned much from them.

4. The Holy Spirit and the word of God can be counted on. Mission trips are intense and focused. One is able to see God do powerful things in response to believing prayer. This increases our faith for ministry back home.

5. Mission trips offer life changing experiences for Christians.

6. Congregational partnerships illustrate the power of the gospel.

7. Sin is everywhere.

8. God's grace is sufficient.

etc., etc., etc.,

Please plan on giving some time to short term missions in the upcoming year. You may never be the same.

Traveling Mercies

I have often heard older Christians request prayer for traveling mercies. I have always thought that that is a beautiful phrase and a powerful idea. I ask you to pray for a group of us from FBC, Meridian. We are traveling to Trinidad today to work with a partner church down there. Also prayer for our families left here. They probably need more grace than we do!

Ed Stetzer on Being the Presence of Christ

I am grateful for Ed Stetzer and I appreciate his work at LifeWay Research. I recently heard him speak at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was talking about church revitalization and said that 89% of the churches in the SBC are in need of revitalization based on criteria from the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health.

Stetzer addressed churches that had made a comeback and identified some common traits. On a fundamental level each of the churches was biblical, spiritual, and missional. One aspect of the missional church that stood out to me was the emphasis on the Kingdom of God. Stetzer framed this as a call to - be the presence of Christ.

We should keep our eyes on the main thing and expend our passion on Kingdom concerns. The night is coming! Live as the presence of Christ in your world.

Daddy's Girl

Taken at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, FL where I took part in my cousin Drew's wedding.
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