Monday, October 29, 2007

Beantown Bonanza

Sometimes things just can't seem to go wrong. Take Boston, for example.

Last night the Red Sox put the broom away after taking the Rockies to school in the Fall Classic. (Wouldn't a Red Sox/Cubs series have been great? Fenway and Wrigley...) That's series MVP Mike Lowell taking a cut to the left.

And their NFL behemoth, the Patriots gave my Redskins their worst whipping since 1961. They seem unbeatable.

Top it off with Boston College's #2 ranking in NCAA Div. I, and there's more excitement in New England than they've had since tea was dumped in the harbor.

Some people just seem to always get the corner piece of the cake.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Flashback

It was good to be back home today!

We began both our gatherings with baby dedications. Eight in all! Wow. We've had a population explosion. But it is indicative of who our church is reaching as well.

A lady from out of town made the comment to me about how she has been coming to Nags Head Church for years while on vacation and is thrilled about the transformation she has seen over the years. A minute later another vacationing guest commented on how she wished we had sung "the old hymns". Her friend reminded her that we had just sung "I Stand Amazed". I guess "older" is relative, because she said that song wasn't "old enough". You have to smile.

Today the church got to see the new paint job in the nursery/pre-school hall. It's fantastic! The kids have to love it.

Today I talked about mission, challenging the church to engage our culture where they are and be agents of reconciliation. Next Sunday we're doing a missionary commissioning for the whole church, and I've asked them to come to church dressed as they do at work. It should be fun!

Another super job today by our band and tech team. We could sing The Revelation Song and I Stand Amazed every Sunday and I'd love it.

I'm headed out the door for our CREST meeting tonight, looking forward to hearing what God's doing through our church and to casting a little vision stuff as well.

Will the Red Sox put it away tonight? I wouldn't be surprised.
Thanks to God for the rain! The winter rye is coming up and the lawn at church is looking green for a change.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Gail!

After a week away (to where the wind comes sweeping down the plains) Gail and I got up early - 5AM for her is still like yesterday - caught a 7:30 flight and headed home. What a way for her to start her birthday.
But, how many women (outside of GA) can say that for her birthday her husband took her to Atlanta for lunch?
So...we had a two hour layover in the Atlanta airport. She got a burger and fries.
It's true what they say. Love knows no bounds.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Memorial Service In OK City

I was part of a corps of 150 fire chaplains marching behind a drum and bagpipe corps under crossed ladders into the Methodist church across the street from the Oklahoma City Memorial (Murrah bombing site) for a memorial service tonight. Remembered were fire chaplains who had died in the last year and all LODD firefighters from the US and Canada, with each name being read aloud.

Afterward we walked across the street to again spend time at the Memorial, which is beautiful at night with its reflecting pool, arches and lit markers for each life lost.

Prior to the service we were treated to Oklahoma barbecue at OKCFD Station 1. It was good, but I refrained from telling them they "ain't ate barbecue until they've ate barbecue" from eastern NC. I didn't want to hurt their feelings. It was my random act of kindness for the day. Being with all these chaplains brings out the merciful side of me.

More from Oklahoma City

Today's highlight was our visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial at the site of the Murrah Building, destroyed by a terrorist bomb in 1995. Going through the museum (and they've done an incredible job there) gave me the same kind of feeling in the pit of my stomach that I felt going through the Holocaust Museum in DC. Remember the kids who died in the day care center? If you ever come to OKC, you need to block off a couple hours to see the museum.

I'm also watching the wild fires in Southern California on the news. Being with 150 other fire chaplains makes it that much more of a concern, esp. for the men and women fighting those fires. Everyone of us wants to get out there and help somehow. As of tonight there are 500 homes lost just in San Diego Co., with 250k people evacuated.

Sad day today.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Flashback

Since I'm in Oklahoma City today, I can't review today at Nags Head Church. But I've heard from a couple of people that it went really well. I love our church, and being able to be away knowing that things are well taken care of there. It wasn't always that way. But God has given us great leadership in our church.

Thanks Nate for putting together a "fun, different" worship time.

Meanwhile, here at the Federation of Fire Chaplains annual conference I've finished two days and 16 hours of classroom instruction. Brain overload! The convention actually begins tomorrow, with a trip to the Murrah Building included in the day. Gail's stayed busy shopping and seeing some sites.

She got to attend today, and really enjoyed it. I attended the worship service here at the hotel with the conference. I wish I could have gone with her. 'Nuff said.

We're about to get hammered by an Oklahoma thunder/lightning/hail storm. The wind is howling! Where's the storm shelter in this place?

Friday, October 19, 2007

OKie dokie

After waking up at 2:30AM and leaving for the airport at 3:00, Gail and I arrived in Oklahoma City a little after 10AM Okie time. We picked up our rental car - a yellow (her choice) little chevy of some kind with no frills - and headed toward the metropolis of Hugo, OK. First, however we needed food, and found a good spot at the Santa Fe Steak or something like that, just outside Tinker AFB. Very similar to a Logans Roadhouse, if you're familiar with that.

The 3 hour trip to Hugo, where my parents and brother/family reside, was a vivid reminder that Oklahoma was Indian Territory before statehood 100 years ago. (It's their centennial year.) It also reminded me, as I saw signs with familar names, of the time we spent ministering in Tulsa in 1978-1980. Lots of short trees out here!

This is our first visit here in several years, and the first time to visit my parents in their current home. It's very comfortable. Mom had a great supper prepared and we enjoyed the evening talking.

I'm up at 5AM (my internal clock says it's 6:00), so before everyone else rises I'm doing a little work. Mark, Debbie and nephews and niece arrive later for a visit. Then this evening we drive back to OKC where I'll be taking classes through Wednesday.

I may have to pick up a cowboy hat while I'm here. You're doing fine, Oklahoma. OK. (It's a nice place to visit, if you know what I mean.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I don't stay really close with the hot topics within our denomination. That's my choice. I've got enough to be concerned with pastoring a local church than to be overwhelmed by denominational politics.

But occasionally I do read up on what's happening here in my state. And right now it appears that the state WMU (Women's Missionary Union) is cutting ties with the state convention. It seems they don't like the direction or the leadership or something or other. So the ladies have chosen to secede and be free from their historical ties.

I wonder if they're all burning their bras, too? Fire up the old Helen Reddy anthem.

Good grief!

I heard today a sadly familiar story. A professing believer in Jesus, when confronted lovingly by a concerned Christian family member about the moral wrong, bibilical prohibition and potential damage of a lifestyle decision replied, "That's what you believe, but...(I'm going to live how I want to live).

I'm grieving over this. Partly because of her rebellion; partly because she wants no relationship with a church family although she has "trusted Jesus as her Savior"; partly because the dysfunction of her upbringing didn't teach her any differently. Mostly because it hurts to see her choose a way of life in opposition to what God would have her live.

As I was thinking of my own grief I was reminded by a still small voice that He grieves, too. In the middle of a discussion about all the bad stuff of life we've been freed from by Christ, Paul instructed the Ephesian believers, "And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live."

If our rebellion causes God sorrow and grief, I wonder if He ever has a tearless day?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Flashback

After a great lunch with family, I got home to turn on the TV and catch the remaining quarter and a half of the Skins' game. They were leading 17-14. But as it turns out, I would have enjoyed watching golf or bowling more.

Today was our first real "fall" day. Great cool sunny weather. Have you noticed how almost perfect weather makes everyone a bit cheerier? Smiles everywhere at church.

I got to meet more new people, which is always fun. Hanging out in our spacious lobby with a cup of coffee and just talking to guests is one reason I love this new building. We ran into one first time guest at the restaurant. When she saw us she did nothing but rave over her experience in our worship gathering. What perked my ears was her comment about how "genuinely friendly" everyone was. Apparently she's been church shopping, and "believe it or not, not every church is friendly." I wonder why that is.

Two of our Trunk or Treat video ads were shown today. They're a hoot. Great job!!

Amazing worship once again. Chad is stepping up more every Sunday, getting ready for a larger role in leadership once Nathan has to be gone for Tricia's transplant. It's great how the songs tie in so well with the message.

I got a new stool to sit on while I teach. It's super-comfy. Kinda retro looking. At my age I need all the help I can get.

The kids in Kidmo were outrageous today. I don't know if they're having that much fun or eating too many doughnuts when they get to church! And the ladies in the baby nursery said they had TEN babies during the second gathering. Great job, Faith and Bari!! All these kids is a good sign that we're reaching our target. We've gotta get that upstairs finished off for them.

I gave out an assignment to everyone to find someone who had served them this morning and encourage him/her/them with a few words of thanks. I'd love to hear from anyone who got a word of encouragement or who gave one out.

I'm going to miss it next Sunday. I'll be in OK City for the Federation of Fire Chaplains convention, thanks to the town of Nags Head. Lots of classes. But it will be a good getaway for Gail and I. She's already said, "I may have to go shopping".

Saturday, October 13, 2007

One another

For those of you NHCers looking to dig deeper, here's the list I will mention Sunday. Have fun with it.

“One Another Passages” in the New Testament

Love one another
Love one another – Jn. 13:34
Be kindly affectionate to one another – Rom. 12:10
Greet one another with a holy kiss. – Rom. 16:16
may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another - 1 Th. 3:12
But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another - 1 Th. 4:9
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. - James 4:11
Do not grumble against one another – James 5:9
love one another fervently with a pure heart – 1 Pet. 1:22
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. – 1 Pet. 3:8-9
above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”- 1 Pet. 4:8
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another – 1 Jn. 1:7
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another – 1 Jn. 3:11
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave £us commandment – 1 Jn. 3:23
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God – 1 Jn. 4:7
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another – 1 Jn. 4:11
If we love one another, God abides in us – 1 Jn. 4:12
that we love one another – 2 Jn. 1:5

Get along with one another
Have peace with one another - Mk. 9:50
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another - Rom. 15:5
Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? – 1 Cor. 6:7
But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! – Gal. 5:15
walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace. - Eph. 4:1-3
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. - Gal. 5:26

Respect and honor one another
honor giving preference to one another – Rom. 12:10
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. - Rom. 14:12-13
Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us - Rom. 15:7
Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. - 1 Cor. 11:33
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. - Eph. 4:25
do not lie to one another - Col. 3:9
bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. - Col. 3:13

Share in each other’s successes and failures
and be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs – Eph. 5:18b-19
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. – Rom. 12:15-16
And be kind to one another forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. - Eph. 4:32

Hold one another accountable
Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. – Rom. 15:14
submitting to one another in the fear of God. - Eph. 5:21
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. - James 5:16

Serve one another
that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another – 1 Cor. 12:25
through love serve one another. - Gal. 5:13
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. – 1 Pet. 4:9
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another – 1 Pet. 4:10
Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility – 1 Pet. 5:5

Encourage and build one another up
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs – Col. 3:16
comfort one another with these words [about Christ’s return] - 1 Th. 4:18
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another – 1 Th. 5:11
but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. – Heb. 3:13
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. – Heb. 10:24-25

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The beehive is active

I've been working in my "temporary office" in the church lobby all day, getting ready for my class on Saturday and putting the finishing touches on my sermon for Sunday.

This place has been hopping!
  • When I arrived at 9AM the Chandlers were inside doing some housekeeping.
  • The mowing service guys were finishing up with the sandspurs...I mean grass.
  • Fred was working on the electrical in the almost done admin area.
  • The plumber came by to repair a porceline wall fixture in the men's room.
  • Randy and Leroy put out some rye grass seed. (Pray for some rain!)
  • Dianne stopped by with a couple of checks for paying bills.
  • My nephew showed up to say "Hi" and to eat lunch with his dad.
  • The concrete contractor arrived to replace some cracked sidewalks.
  • Tom put the finishing drywall touches on my real office.
  • The copier repair guy came by to fix the copier.
  • Randy started painting in the Kids Church room. Bright yellow.
  • A lighting contractor (3 of them) from PA came in to give us a price on theatrical lighting for our auditorium. They happened to be in town working on another project.
  • In a couple hours the band will get here for their practice.

Busy day here at the launch pad.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A perfect beach day

Monday afternoon I picked Gail up and we went to the beach. It couldn't have been a better beach day, except maybe the waves could have been a tad bigger. But for October, it was amazing. About 80 degrees, light wind, blue sky, water temp at 75 (!), and a virtually deserted beach.

We took our beach chairs and a couple of books. I even got a little nap in.

It will be a long time before another day like that comes around. But I'm not complaining. Here comes the cool weather! Let's have some fall and turn off the AC!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Better be looking over your shoulder

This morning when I was ten minutes into teaching at First Appointment (at 6:10AM!) my cell phone went off. I keep my phone on "vibrate", so I was surprised that a song was playing from my phone in my pocket.

Last night we visited with our son and daughter, as well as our two daughters, their husbands and friends. I left my cell phone there.

This morning before First Appointment I was handed my phone which I put in my pocket. I never thought to check it for tampering. They had set the alarm to go off at 6:10, knowing I'd be teaching, and downloaded "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don't your wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?" as my ring tone, turned up as loud as it could go. It was hilarious.

Somebody blamed in on my son-in-law who wasn't present.

Payback is sweet. My mind is swimming.

Lock your doors.

Sunday Flashback

Yesterday was another super worship day at Nags Head Church. And it was a long day, too.

Having been here for going on 17 years and going back to when I literally wore just about every hat with a tiny congregation, it's great to see the church "doing the work of ministry" and getting it done. It allows me to concentrate on my main task on Sundays, which is teaching. God's given us a great team of servants who volunteer and make sure things are running on all cylinders.

One of the exciting things to observe is how our church is learning to worship freely. Sometimes you just can't stay in your seat while you're singing about things like being "finally free" because of the cross.

I hope the messages in this series are connecting. Only time will tell!These are values about which I'm very passionate. As an old pastor of mine used to say, "I'm stronger than horseradish" about the local church.

After church I had lunch with an old friend and retired pastor, Billy Sellers and his wife Pat. It was a pleasant surprise to see them after many years. Way back Billy spoke at a Bible Conference we had here, and later I preached in his pulpit at the historic Meherrin Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, NC. He's now enjoying life in the mountains of western NC.

Then I got to attend the 50th wedding celebration of Paul and Jan Martz. And while there I found out that it was also the 40th anniversary for Don and Agnes Kirschner. Both couples are super role models for younger couples.

Sunday night's communion service was packed out! Wow. Great job by Tom Lee leading the service and by Nate, Josh and Chris leading us to the cross through music. The fellowship around the communion table is super. Gail and I got to sit at a table with new folks who are still checking out NHC. And that's always a treat.

My chili didn't even place in the cook off. I think it was rigged. But everybody got plenty to eat with at least 14 pots of chili and sandwiches and desserts... Even though we dropped the word from our name we're still baptists when it comes to eating.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Why Be Culturally Relevant?

Last Sunday I'm told that a guest got up from her seat and left one of our services after the second song. She didn't even stay for the offering! (Just kidding.) I heard this evening from someone who knows her that she left because "It wasn't what I was used to".

It's not unusual for our worship style to get criticism - sometimes even from our members who should understand our vision and direction. But because it "isn't what they're used to" (read that: what they were brought up on) it's either "wrong" or somehow prevents them from connecting with God.

On page 51 of "The Present Future", Reggie McNeal hits the nerve on the head.
Witness the worship wars. They are the result of club members [McNeal's term for institutionalized Christians] discussing their worship style preferences as stockholders and stakeholders, not missionaries. The usual goal is to find something that club members like.

He continues a bit farther, Missionaries understand that being culturally relevant is critical to an evangelism strategy.

Then he swings the hammer. Only people without a missiology disdain attempts at being culturally relevant."

Ed and Edith would give testimony that their theology [what they believe about God] is orthodox. But until they develop a missiology [the doctrine of reaching the world with the Gospel] they haven't discovered His heart for saving those outside "the club".

It just isn't what they're used to.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"We're not going backward."

So says the leading bishop of the Episcopal Church here in the US. Her comments were in regard to pressure from the world's Anglican leaders that the US Episcopal church assert that it would not perform marriage unions for gay couples or approve gay clergy as bishops.

But Bishop, when you're facing the wrong direction, you only think you're going forward.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Old Guys Rule

The old guys at First Appointment are putting the rest of the guys to shame. Yeah, they're old, so they get up with the chickens. But how do they remember it's Monday morning?

You guys rock! Thanks for setting the pace, catching the waves and being role models.
"One would think the deep had white hair." - Job 41:32 NKJV
(Talk about taking a verse out of context!)