A Door for the Word

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should." Colossians 4:2-4 NRSV

I've discovered when we ask God to give us opportunities to serve others and share his story he answers in amazing ways. You may want to experiment with this. As you pray, ask for someone to open a door for you to enter. Show them love and tell them about Him.

Lessons from Church Planters

My ministry has always been in long established churches. Our first congregation was in Monticello. I was asked to preach at the 100th anniversary of this church last year. We now live in Meridian were I serve on staff of one of the oldest churches in our city. For five years I was the pastor of the Truitt Memorial Baptist Church in Pearl. It is the oldest church in the city of Pearl but Pearl is not that old. There are a couple of charter members still alive and I loved to hear them talk about the days when the founded the church in a tent. These friends are old but their stories are still fresh and full of passion. These charter members helped me see the important place church planting has in the work of God.

Church planting is a gift to the whole Christian community. There is a definite place in the Kingdom for old churches. It's simply arrogant and a little dumb to deny this. New churches are also a vital part of what God is up to in the world. Old and new churches need each other. I like church planters and I want to thank them for a handful of things.

1. Church planters remind me that only God can do God's work. They are forced to live by faith. We all should.

2. Church planters tend to be a grateful group.

3. Church planters "read" their communities so that they can reach people.

4. New Churches celebrate what God is doing.

5. Church planters remind us that the message is more important than the method.

This list could go on and on. Tonight we will vote about giving a bus to Church Arise in Decatur. They are a new church, serving their community in creative ways. We should become friends with churches like Church Arise. It will be good for us!

Sent - Session 2 Group Discussion ?s

1. Is it easier to be for something or against something? Why?
2. What implications does the "already but not yet" nature of the kingdom of God have for your life? What does living in the meantime mean to you?
3. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of the role of an ambassador?
4. What are some practical ways you can live in a reconciliatory way?

Pray for President Obama

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior," 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NASB)

Connecting - Sent

I get two messages, several times, every day. They come from my computer and cell phone. You get them as well. Connecting. Sent. We live in a world of electronic communication and online community. We are never more than a text away from our friends scattered around the world and around town. They are in our hip pocket and we are in their's. The two messages of this relational web are connecting and sent. These messages, I assume, come from some all knowing wizard, a nerdy guy that looks like Jobs or Gates.

I have come to incorporate these wizardly messages into my spiritual formation. When I see them I've begun to ask a couple of questions. Here's how it goes for me. -

Connecting - Am I connecting with God and his people? In what ways do I need to cultivate vital worship, discipleship, and fellowship?

Sent - Am I living a sent life? I've been called to serve people and share the message of Christ. I've been sent by God. In what ways do I need to cultivate vital service and evangelism?

When you hear from the wizard look deep. God has sent you and wants you to connect.

A Lesson from the Threefoot

It seems like everyone in Meridian wants to talk about the Threefoot these days. There are scores of opinions, a lot of heat, and every now and then some light. I was talking to my grandfather Charley the other day and the Threefoot came up. I got a lesson that I was not expecting. He told me that my great-grandfather Ody Snowden contracted to hang the original doors in the building. He agreed to be payed per door hung. He was so fast and efficient they wanted to put him on salary. He refused and made enough money to start his own construction company. The old time carpenters told my grandfather that the reason he was so good was that he came to work early every day and sharpened each tool before the work day began. There is a lesson here for us.

So often we rush into ministry without taking the time to sharpen ourselves spiritually. We try to use our gifts before we fan them into flame. We need to attend to our spiritual formation. This is hard for activity prone disciples to do but it is necessary if we are going to get the job done.

Don't forget to sharpen your tools!


I'll be preaching this Sunday night from Titus 3:3-8. The basic idea of the message is that believing in God and maintaining good works are good things and that a life of purpose comes from a vital relationship with God. Some Christian thinkers refer to this stuff as telos.

Meredith gave me a book for my birthday by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk. They made a stament about telos that I think is pretty good. It may give you something to think about. Here it is -

"In the Christian story, the telos of human life is neither to fulfill oneself in the modern sense of the individual nor the drive to self-actualization or even self-differentiation. Our telos is to know God. Both Augustine and Aquinas state that it is God who is our end, and therefore our source. To know God is to know the Good. Knowing God is also participating in a life infused with proper calling, and to do the work we have been given to do in this life. Only by participating in the life of God can we live out our telos and live into our work and purpose. By doing our proper work in life, we know happiness in the sense of knowing God. As human beings our quest for the Good is a quest for the telos of our life, which can only be known in God."

from The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World
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