Monday, September 12, 2022

Some of my Heroes

Early in my ministry God took us to serve in Tulsa, OK at the Tulsa Baptist Temple, a large church led by Clifford Clark.  Pastor Clark was a champion for world missions like none other I've ever known.  And while I received a great indoctrination into the priority of world evangelization at the churches I grew up in and served, TBT took that up a notch.  


It was in this church in 1965 that youth pastor Roscoe Brewer took a large group of American teens to Mexico to distribute Bible in a program he called SMITE - Summer Missions Intern Training for Evangelism.  Brewer would take SMITE with him to Lynchburg Baptist College (now Liberty University) in the '70's and it became the world missions arm of the young college.

Each January the church hosted a world missions conference, and missionaries from all over the world were brought in to share what God was doing where they served. At those conferences I was privileged to sit and converse with and mostly listen to "hall of fame" missionaries like Manuel Arenas, Granny Holdeman and Rachel Saint.


In the picture, from a Tulsa Baptist Temple newsletter, Rachel Saint is center front row and Granny Holdeman is on the right front row, standing next to Pastor Clifford Clark.  I'm there, too, on the far right of the third row. The guy with no tie...can you believe that? 


My days at this church ('78-'80) were instrumental in forming my own missions strategy which I put into practice in my 30 years at Nags Head Church.


(Click on the picture to see all of it.)



Monday, April 4, 2022

Still Doing Some Preaching!



Yesterday I had the privilege of filling in for my friend Russ Howard at Cape Hatteras Baptist Church. Doing it since I was 16, I still love teaching the Word whenever and whenever I get the chance.  Here is the link to the service.  (I start around the 14 minute mark.)


Also got a picture with my friend Adrienne.  She's a member of the church and we are both alumni of the same high school in Orange, California.  Truth be told, she wasn't even born when I went to Orange High 50 years ago!


Monday, March 28, 2022

Nothing Could Be Finer


After the dust settled this past Sunday evening with the Men's Elite Eight tournament, the Final Four have been determined.  What a great tournament so far!  Who wasn't pulling for little St. Peter's University, the number 15 seed (that's one up from the bottom in their region) to get so record-setting far?  But, they ran into a Tar Heel team playing like they should and it was more than the Peacocks could handle.


Now two of the four headed into this weekend's tournament are from the Old North State.  And amazingly, for the first time ever the two huge rivals will meet in the NCAA Tournament, much less the Final Four.  


The Tar Heels are led by their first-year coach Hubert Davis, himself a former Tar Heel player with Final Four experience.  The Blue Devils are led by legendary coach Mike Krezyzewski, who retires at the end of the season...which will either be their next loss or their national championship. 


It is being pegged as “the biggest game in college basketball history.”.  It well may be.

Either way my state wins and gets into the championship game on Monday.  (By the way...NC State's team is in the Women's Final Four.)

And who says the ACC is in demise? Tobacco Road is hopping.


More on Coach K and why I am a Duke fan later.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

A Year of Transition


I did not realize that it has been a year since my last blog post!  How did that happen???

So here's a bullet point list of the last year...

  • Thus far Gail and I have avoided COVID in any form.  A year ago we got our first vaccines and then followed up with a booster. (Please take a debate elsewhere.)
  • On April 18 I preached my final sermon as Lead Pastor of Nags Head Church and officially "retired" on April 30 after nearly 40 years of full-time ministry and 30 at NHC. Our new Lead Pastor, Nathanael Stevens came aboard six months earlier and we teamed up for that time of transition.  Check him out!  He's great!! 
  • In mid-June Gail and I flew to Juneau, AK and Glacier Valley Baptist Church, where I filled in as interim pastor until mid-October.  If you've never been to Alaska you just gotta go! Beauty beyond description.  Alaska in the summer is paradise. And we made some great friends there.  Gail also (after a 40 year break) got back into quilting while we were there, and is going strong with it now.
  • My first Social Security check arrived in November!!  WooHoo!
  • It was great to be back with our family for the holidays!  
  • We spent 3 days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC that included a Phil Keaggy concert! 
  • In December I had MOHS surgery on my nose that I had put off while in AK.  With my shaggy hair and full beard I indeed looked rough.

  • Since being home I've had several invitations to preach at churches in the northeast NC area. One even had me back for a second time!  I hope to be able to continue that kind of ministry as long as I'm able.
  •  After a year's absence Gail and I will be back regularly next month at Nags Head Church to do whatever we can to serve there.  She plans to rejoin the Milepost 13 Band and I'll be joining the parking team!  
  • In the meantime we're staying busy around the house and yard, spending time with the grandkids, reading (me) and quilting (Gail).  Oh, and I'm loving naps.
 Hopefully I'll do better with the blogging and find a useful purpose for it, using my teaching gift to benefit others.  

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Seuss and Huck




Been reading about Dr. Seuss becoming a victim of the cancel culture.

It reminded me of literature I read in my youth.
I recently found a very old (early 20th century) edition of Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn". I read this book over 50 years ago (along with Tom Sawyer) and understood then the times were different, and that the racist language and imagery reflected those times, not that the times made racism right.  
But reading them was very educational for me, a jr. high boy in the mid-60's... a time
when we were learning to move away from those past injustices.
Context is everything. We can teach our children a lot by remembering, not canceling history.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Finding the line between conspiracy and truth

Recently I was challenged on social media to expose and condemn a group known as QAnon.  I had no idea who or what that was, partly because I don't spend time reading conspiracy theory claims that pop up, often from my Christian friends.  And those theories, as you know, abound.  Then I saw where some of the arrestees from the recent mayhem at the Capitol were identified with this group, so my curiosity was peaked.


My personal philosophy is to emulate the words of Paul, the Apostle.  He wrote, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8)  If I'm going to be balanced and well-focused, those are the things with which I need to fill my mind.

Today this showed up on my news feed.  It's an article from a trusted source about QAnon.  Since I was challenged to expose/condemn them, I felt it wise to learn about it.  And I realized not only did I have no idea about it, I think I have many friends who have swallowed this particular flavor of Kool Aid.  And I am sure that such conspiracy nonsense and mindless biases lacking reason are on both sides of the spectrum.

Anyway, here is the link to the article.  And remember, "there is none so blind as he who will not see".  Beware of false prophets.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Fist Shaking is Not the Answer


While watching current events unfold (and reactions to them)...
American evangelicals have (for generations) had a "worldview" that supposes God treats us as His favorite children. We watch horrible persecution of Christians in other countries and we pray for them. But, when a little persecution begins to percolate on our shores we proclaim the Rapture is almost here, as though hard times for the American Christian are more than God can bear, so He must act now.
We're so full of ourselves. Rather than shake our fists at the world acting like the world, perhaps it is time to repent and become full of Christ.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Just Who Was He?

 Some years ago my son Nathan and I sang a song together in our Christmas Eve service.  I can only remember one other time just the two of us sang a duet and that was in South Africa!  

This is not a Christmas song, but it addresses the question of just who Jesus was and is.  Christian songwriter/musician Larry Norman first recorded this about 50 years ago.  Larry is now with the Lord, but during his life did much to rattle the doors of the church, and I have been appreciative of him, his music and his stand since I was a teen.  I encourage you to check him out online if you don't know his work.

Anyway, the link to the video is below of "The Outlaw" we did.  Not the best recording, so pardon that and my attempt to sing and play.  (It was the last time I did such a public thing!).

 If you wonder who Jesus was/is, I'd love for you to come to know Him.   As the last verse says, "It's time for us to leave", referring to His soon return.  Are you ready?  I hope so!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Monday Rant: Stop Using The Lord's Name in Vain

 Immediately, with some seeing the title the thought is, "He must be talking about cussing."  Not at all.


I've seen this being posted lately.  Have you?  (It's spreading like James 3:5 wildfire.) Maybe you've shared it...  I quote:

"After hearing Mark Zuckerberg saying that posting the Lord’s Prayer goes against their policies, I’m asking all Christians to please follow my example Jesus said; Everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:33
This is the best challenge I've ever seen on Facebook. So if you love Him and you're not ashamed, please join me in this challenge of faith!
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors,
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.🙏
Then it ends with "Can I get an Amen?"

But, Rick! Is that taking the Lord's name in vain?  Absolutely.  Here's why.

1. Did anyone actually hear Zuckerberg say something like that, and if so, where is the evidence?  Post a link, please.

2. The original poster says that the owner of Facebook said posting "The Lord's Prayer" goes against Facebook's policies, implying they will remove it.  Yet, behold, there it is in living black and white.  Maybe someone at FB is asleep at the wheel?  Not likely.  They've shown themselves to be highly sensitive to anything that goes against their "community standards". So, the post itself disproves itself.
3. Knowing that this can't be true, yet using Jesus' words to falsely prove something that isn't provable is using His name in vain.  If anything (and I believe He's a whole lot more) Jesus is truth.  So, why propagate a lie, or at the least something you don't know to be truth by attaching perhaps His best-known words to it? 

My years on social media have made it clear that there are none in our culture more gullible than Christians who post things that are either inaccurate, have no evidence behind them or are outright falsehoods.  And God help us...we tend to go even farther with political conspiracies.  By the way, God included such in a prohibition in His Ten Commandments.

So, as a pastor, may I say, "Cut it out!"  This copy and paste stuff, especially if it paints a picture of some kind of persecution (even it is dubious) does nothing to elevate the Gospel.  If you KNOW something to be false (not due to hearsay or because your most trusted BFF posted it), then by all means share that information.

Otherwise stick to pictures of cherub angels and unicorns.

Rant over.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Vaccination? Yes, I will.


My rationale for getting the vaccine is simple.

First, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I pay no attention to hype that has no factual basis.  Really, who thinks big pharma or the government or some mega rich guy really wants to wipe out the population of the world.  I've read ahead about the world's future, and we're not ready for something like that.

Second, since I was a child I've gotten vaccines - small pox (remember those?), polio (remember the sugar cubes), flu, and so on. I grew up in an era before many vaccines were available, so I contracted the measles and mumps. No fun! But, I've never had polio, small pox, whooping cough, diptheria, flu - all those things for which I was vaccinated.  Heck, I just got shots for pneumonia and shingles because neither illness is attractive to me.
Third, since I really don't want to get sick with COVID-19 I'll take the chance on this new vaccine. Some ask, "What if the vaccine gives you the virus?". Looking at the testing of tens of thousands, that's not likely. And if it does, so be it. Without the vaccine I probably would have gotten the virus at some point, so I'll go with the possibility (and minimal risk) that the vaccine will give me immunity.
And fourth, if I get the virus and die from it, I'm ready for what comes after that. Death has no sting for those in Christ. I'm covered by the most amazing insurance policy: the death of Christ who forgave me of my sin when I believed in Him. 
So, look for me in line. I'm 65. I have an underlying medical condition. I have a daughter-in-law who I can't risk catching something from me. So, give me the shot and soon.