A Thousand Ways to Jesus

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10 KJV

I have been lingering over the Christmas story for a week or so now. I cherish the time between Christmas and New Years because its rhythm gives me some needed time to read and reflect. This year I have come to freshly appreciate an important truth about the gospel. The good news is simultaneously narrow and wide. The Christmas story reminds us of this because all the seekers were looking for “the Lord.” You also get the point that he was intended for “all people.” Jesus was particular. He was born in a specific time and place and there was only one of him. There is a “the” connected to him and believers have affirmed this stubbornly. This is one for chief beefs people have with our message. In addition to the “the” Jesus is closely associated with “all.” His birth became the concern of poor Jews and rich pagans alike. He was one for many. The Christmas story is clear on this.

This principle was further affirmed for me as I read Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson’s, The Externally Focused Church. We are going to use some of their recourses later in the year and I appreciate their work. Here is a quote from the book, “There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus. But there are a thousand ways to Jesus.” We need to be stubborn and preach the onlyness of Jesus and we must be equally committed to offering his healing deeds and saving words to all. God is at work through FBC Meridian. He’s expanding our vision. We must walk through the doors of service opened to us and recognize that people come to Christ in a thousand different ways. As 2010 begins we need to ask ourselves:

What is God doing?
How can I join him?
What does God want to do?
How do we get started?

"Hey guys it's our time!"

Learning How to Fish

I love this photo. It's a picture of my grandmother teaching my son how to fish. I like it because I deeply love both of those wonderful people and because it reminds my of my calling as a Christian minister. Ephesians 4:12 reminds the church that God gave pastors, "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service." We are called to teach, prompt, and support God's people in the work of the Kingdom. Sometimes you wonder if you are doing any good. I was reminded this morning that remaining faithful to this calling results in God honoring service.

Turning on the radio for my drive to work I heard one of our church members talking about a community ministry that he is leading. He spoke with passion about how God has been at work in his life. He mentioned other young leaders in our church and how God was working in them as well. He spoke of "pew power" and challenged other churches in our community to get outside. He said that he has experienced God in amazing ways as he entered the community to serve in the name of Jesus. I was blown away. His testimony was really about a conversion experience. He said for ten years it was all about coming to church and learning. Serving has changed his life. He sounded like a Deep South Darrell Guder. It was awesome.

Over two years ago we decided to pour missional theology into the church. We were very intentional about this. We taught and taught and then we acted. We canceled Sunday evening services in the Summer and challenged SS classes to serve the community. New ministries have been born and people have been renewed. I have a new confidence in the pastoral calling. If we will devote ourselves to empowering and supporting the pew God will do beautiful and surprising things.

We will celebrate Christmas in two days. We need to thank God for what he and did and ask God what he is doing. Now is the time to join in. Let's teach fishing, learn fishing and by all means fish.

"Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

The Mourners Bench

Our church game me this James Conner painting this Sunday. They wanted to give me a lasting gift to honor my graduation that would remind me of my calling. Our pastor explained that the childern in the painting were in the process of receiving Christ with a pastor "praying them through". The congregation was his partner. They were one in the effort to lead people to Christ. This painting will hang in my office and speak to me as long I have have the opportunity to serve in ministry.

Good News of Great Joy

Yesterday's sermon is up for viewing. Check it out and have a great day.


Thanks Truett

I graduated from Baylor's George W. Truett Theological today. I've spent the last four years in the Doctor of Ministry program. Meredith and I had two children and we moved to a different city during this time. We've seen some major life change and Truett has been a part of it.

Thinking about my Truett experience always makes me feel grateful. I've met some truly wonderful people through Truett. David Garland was my faculty supervisor. I met him in Jackson 9 years ago and he is the major reason I chose Truett in the first place. Dr. Garland is a brilliant man but that is not his best trait. Dr. Garland loves Jesus and has a passion for the church. He's a humble man and his contribution to my life has been huge. Dr. Ron Cook leads the program. He is full of pastoral wisdom and I can see myself leaning on him in the years to come. I've come to really appreciate his insights into the work of ministry. I learned major lessons on leadership from Terry York and Levi Price. Those guys are great. Roger Olson and Bert Dominy helped me think through some tricky theological issues. I'll always remember the day Dr. Dominy asked me to lunch and encouraged me to stive for great things. Theresa Muirhead and Michael Godfrey gave me tons of practical help. They were wonderful. Great organizations and built by good people. Truett is filled with good people.

The thing I liked most about the school is the deep commitment to the mission of God. I was talking to my friend Will the other day about Truett. He is currently in the program and will be finishing soon. He said that the thing that stands out the him is the obvious desire to please God he sees in all the professors at Truett. Will is right, I sense it as well.

This rambling scribble is a simple thank you to a wonderful place. If you are thinking about theological education you owe it to yourself to consider Truett. You are sure to be surprised.

We are now publishing our sermons on Truthcasting

Check out FBC Meridian sermons on Truthcasting -


New Community Ministry

"How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help." 1 John 3:17 NRSV

"I desire compassion." Jesus in Matthew 9:13

Many of you have heard about our church's partnership with Wesley House Community Center. During the summer one of our Sunday School classes took the Walking challenge and began to serve in a significant way. Over $50,000 has been raised and a children's ministry area is being constructed as you read this. This has been a mustard seed/grass roots effort and God has really blessed the work. The editor of the Meridian Star called it one of the most compelling local stories of the year. His family has started attending FBC Meridian because of it's impact on his life.

My friend Trey Long has been at the front of this effort and many others have dedicated time and resources. Trey has been asked by a number of people how they can help with the work in the East End area of Meridian. He is working with Wesley House to make needs known through the same mustard seed/grass roots network that raised the funds for Playground for Jesus. We would like to see this network grow. If you would like to hear about local needs so that you can help see those needs met then please read the email from Trey that I include in this post and send him your email address.




I have decided to start a new email ministry called the 1 John 3:17 email list.


“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

Many of you have asked how can I help the Wesley House. I have decided to start getting individual stories of people in our community that you can help if God calls you to. I know everybody has limited incomes, but many people are willing to help if they know who and what their money is going to. I simply cannot afford to do it all, and neither can you. I have a hard time going to sleep at night knowing somebody in this world who is trying their best needs a little help. So in reflecting upon what I could do I decided to start emailing all of you. If you do not want to get emails from me with stories of needy individuals please email me back and I will take you off the list. If you know somebody who would like to be added to this list please send me their email address. The more email addresses I get the better. When I send you an email I will give the story, and amount needed to help in that situation. If you decide to help contact me through email or call me 601-934-9427. The money you give will go in full to the individual if you decide to help. God is so good, and thank you for being somebody God can use. Please pray for each story and see if God gives you the means to help. If God puts it on your heart, please do not use the excuse somebody else will take care of it because it might go undone.

**All donations are tax deductible**

For your information- Any story I email you will be after an individual has been checked out through the Wesley House Clearing Procedure. Each individual must bring proof of I.D., pay stubs, tax records, social security for each member of the household, any child over 18 must provide income information, receiving any subsidy (food stamps, housing allowance, etc.), and proof of all outgoing bills. There is an extensive application that proves who the people are and the situation they face. Phone calls are placed to verify employment and information provided.

Today’s Need - $365.00

35 year old woman with a 10 year old girl. Husband walked out on the family 3 years ago when the woman asked for food. She has done well in providing for herself and her girl, but has recently run into trouble. This woman has never asked for help in the past. She does not live in your typical needy neighborhood. She might very well be your neighbor. She cannot afford to pay her heating utility bill. With the cold weather approaching she is scared her heat might be disconnected. $365.00 would go directly to this woman for the purpose of having heat for the winter. What could you do with $365.00? Provide heat for a 35 year old woman and her 10 year old girl for the winter.


Trey Long
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