Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peace in the storm

Auburn Swimming/Diving coach Richard Quick and his take on inoperable brain cancer.

334-742-5224 is the number for his prayer pager. Call and follow the prompts.

And what were my problems today?

A better idea? Apparently so.

So, how has Ford been able to avoid the collapse and government intrusion of GM and likely Chrysler? Henry's company has not come to Washington with hands extended looking for tax payer financing. By why not?

Is Ford actually competing with the supposedly superior Japanese auto makers?

Doesn't Ford live with the same draining demands of the UAW as the others in Detroit?

And today they are announcing that if you lose your job after buying one of their new cars they'll carry your loan for 12 months. How can they do that?

I haven't bought a Ford in over 20 years. My current ride is a 2001 Dodge truck. My wife's car speaks Japanese. So my questions are not based on a Ford favoritism at all. I couldn't tell you what car won any NASCAR race. I just want to know what has made the difference.

But I'm beginning to think that F O R D doesn't really mean "found on road dead".

(I can see myself in a Mustang, though.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

More bad moon risin'

(see this post below)

Today's news that the White House "fired" the prez of GM pretty much seals the deal.

I'm reminded of another song from the 60's by John and Paul that really raised a lot of hackles here in the US. It was about a country that took control of all the businesses.

I guess we "don't know how lucky [we] are".

A word to the wise: when you accept government money you invite Big Brother to own you.

Maybe Paul will rewrite the words to "DC girls really knock me out...".

I guess the words "As American as apple pie, baseball and Chevrolet" never rang truer.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Flashback

There was a lot packed into both of our 75 minute worship gatherings today. Plenty of music; Burnie brought a devotional on how Moses' shepherd's staff became the staff of God; a great video clip about Student Life Camp and a sermon on an often overlooked story in Moses' life about disobedience.

Just before the 2nd gathering it started to rain lightly. Burnie and I were up on the balcony watching a lot of people running from the parking lot into church! The old addage that a few drops of rain keep Baptists from going to church on Sunday just doesn't seem to hold true here. And that's exciting. "Who are all these people?", I asked Burnie. He was clueless, too. And we're pastors!!

I heard that our infant nursery was packed out at 11. Good problem to have, but just another indicator that we've got to get those children's rooms finished upstairs so our nursery can expand. And how many more babies are on their way?? We're replenishing the earth, that's for sure.

Got to meet some young people visiting our area from Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. That's quite a ride!

After the second gathering we had lunch (thanks Les and Carol) and some interviews with 7 young believers ready to take the plunge and partner with us. That's always an exciting day.

In a few minutes Contagious, our youth ministry takes over the facility, followed by Divorce Care. Busy day. Lots of lives being changed!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

An encouraging signature

"Kansas Governor Signs Bill Ensuring Those Seeking Abortions Can See Ultrasound First"

If the heartbeat of the "fetus" is distinct and separate of that of the mother doesn't that indicate that the "fetus" is indeed a distinct person, worthy of civil rights?

Just wondering.

Why the government can't fix the economy

Today I heard a perfect example why the idea of big government solving our economic woes is a farce. Simply put, if our government was a business it would have been out of business long ago. Here's the real time example.

As you're likely aware there is a new census happening. Rather than contract it out to a successful business, the census is being handled by government employees. I was talking this morning with a friend who has been hired in some kind of supervisory capacity.

He lives in a very rural community, so the closest training for his job is 100 miles one way. So every time he had to go to training he was paid travel time and mileage. My question: why couldn't this training have been done online via a live feed?

He went to a training that lasted from 8:30 to 10:00 AM. When it was done the trainer told those in the class (I don't know how many) "go home and put yourself down for 8 hours". Our tax money paid each employee for 6.5 hours of non-work. I guess there's plenty of money to blow. After all, it is a government job.

His reporting is done by computer and sent in electonically. But here's the glitch. At his location he cannot receive the signal. If he had a telephone line provided by the local telephone utility he could send the reports from home. But he doesn't. So his supervisor has told him to drive 100 miles one way three times a week and do the reports in the census office, which takes a whole 30 minutes. That, he told me, is costing you and me $85/trip. At 3 times a week that comes to $255/month.

Gee. I wonder what it would cost us to have the local phone utility run a line into his house? A lot less. What do you think?

If we're going to stimulate the economy and not continue to bankrupt our government wouldn't it make more sense to operate like a for profit business? Or better, give the contract to a business and expect accountability. It could be done cheaper and no doubt more efficiently.

So what really has changed? Not much.

Friday, March 27, 2009

There's a place up ahead, and I'm goin'

(In case you read my previous post and got the sense that I'm all gloom and doom - not so. Everything happening points to "the blessed hope". So to keep with the CCR theme from the last post, I offer this.)

There's a place up ahead and I'm goin'
Just as fast as my feet can fly
Come away, come away if you're goin',
Leave the sinkin' ship behind.

Come on the risin' wind,
We're goin' up around the bend.


Bring a song and a smile for the banjo,
Better get while the gettin's good,
Hitch a ride to the end of the highway
Where the neons turn to wood.

Come on the risin' wind,
We're goin' up around the bend.


You can ponder perpetual motion,
Fix your mind on a crystal day,
Always time for a good conversation,
There's an ear for what you say.

Come on the risin' wind,
We're goin' up around the bend.



Catch a ride to the end of the highway
And we'll meet by the big red tree,
There's a place up ahead and I'm goin'
Come along, come along with me.

Come on the risin' wind,
We're goin' up around the bend.


(words by John Fogerty)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The more things change the more they are the same

I see a bad moon a-rising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earth quakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

Don't go 'round tonight
It's bound and take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes a-blowing,
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

Don't go 'round tonight
It's bound and take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

John Fogerty ca 1969

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Babies and Bottles

Anderson University is a private (there's a key word) conservative Christian (more keys - that's who they are) institution of higher learning in Indiana, affiliated with the Church of God (could that be important?). I am not familiar with the school, but saw a piece on the news this morning about students there protesting the policy that forbids the use of alcohol.

A group of unhappy young adults who are registered students walked into a downtown bar and bellied up to make a protest statement. Essentially what they were saying is "Hey, we're 21 - legal adults in the USA - and that gives us certain rights. AU, loosen up on your alcohol policy for those of us of legal age. If we want to drink, we should be able to do so without retribution." You can read the story here.

But here's a sample of legal age and adulthood being two separate matters.

If you visit the university's web site, you'll find their policies on student life very clearly stated. Stated clearly enough, I might add, that incoming freshmen should have no problem understanding what they say.

Anderson U's policy on alcohol consumption states:
The purchase, possession, or use of alcohol or illegal drugs by any student on or off campus is prohibited. Individuals who drink alcoholic beverages off campus and return to campus will be subject to disciplinary action. Alcoholic beverage containers found in rooms, automobiles, etc., will be considered as evidence of drinking by the occupants. Alcoholic beverage containers, posters, and other items advertising alcoholic beverages are not permitted. Students annually receive a copy of the university policy on drugs and alcohol from the Department of Student Life. [emphases are mine]

Then below a listing of all their student life policies is this statement:
Students coming to this university agree to conduct themselves as responsible citizens and actively contribute to the quality of social, spiritual, and intellectual life. Violation of university policies subjects students to disciplinary action that could include warning, probation, or dismissal from the university. [again my emphases]

This post isn't about whether or not I or anyone else agrees with the policy. What I think about the policy doesn't matter. It's not my school. What it is about is being an adult, which is more than a birthday.

Hello boys and girls! When you matriculated and signed your name on the dotted line you agreed to the policies. Your signature implied your compliance. You willingly signed away any "right" to violate the policy. That was your agreement. You have annually been reminded and still you come back, again signifying your willing compliance.

Suck it up and keep your word. If you dont' like the policy there is an easy solution: transfer to another school! If you want to go to a school where the students set the policies go find one. But I doubt AU is a democracy. And for good reason.

A sign of adulthood is the ability to accept responsibility for your actions. That means some are actually "adults" in regard to maturity before age 21. But a birthday doesn't guarantee such status. You don't need a beer to be a man (or woman). You need to honor your word.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Flashback

We're really having a great time with the life of Moses. There is so much in his life that totally relates to our lives today. It's a deep well. Lots of worshippers wrote out their excuses for not trusting and obeying God's call in their lives, and as Moses did at Sinai, left them there.

Spring is here on the OBX, which means each week as the weather gets warmer more and more folks make their way here for vacations and weekend get aways. And we see so many who come back to NHC year after year.

There was great energy at 9:00 today! Lately the early gathering has been a bit more sedate, but today they were wide awake and ready to worship.

When I arrived this morning around 8:00 and met Les and Carol in the kitchen there words of welcome were most excellent: "The coffee is ready!".

Denise gave a powerful personal testimony this morning of learning to trust God with her finances as a young, single mom and watching God take care of her family's needs.

If for no other reason I'd attend NHC just to hear the band and sing along. "The Power of Your Name" is one of my favorites. It speaks so well to the need of our culture for what only God can do and our task as ambassadors to take that message to the streets.

Can't wait for next Sunday!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Blame Game on PA Ave...

Did they do some finger pointing yesterday, or what? The outrage of the American populus over government funded (that means it came out of our pockets) bonuses to executives of a failing financial corporation has prompted the politicians (thinking re-election) who wrote the permission slip to give out the funds to react in anger.

Anger at who? Some blame AIG and their arrogance at handing out rewards for failure with "our money". Some blame the Treasury Secretary for not doing a better job as an accountant. Others go higher and point to the Prez, saying it's his fault. Even a few are accepting the blame, saying, "Hey, we authorized the bailout".

There's lots of blame to go around. And the man on the street; the almost retired worker who has seen his/her retirement lose half of its value in the last year; the unemployed bread winner who can't find a job and is in danger of losing his savings and his home...we're all mad at "them".

But who put "them" in charge? Who is really to blame here?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Origin of St. Patrick's Day

Sometimes there are no answers

Tragedy struck close to home yesterday. A car accident resulted in the death of a high school student. He was an only child. His girlfriend was driving the car.

These kinds of life events cause great pain that is sadly compounded by questions that no one can adequately answer; at least not me. I've learned to say, "I don't know."

Skeptics may call "religion" (I don't consider my relationship with God a "religion") a "crutch". And maybe it is. But what's wrong with having support when you hurt and are limping around? I'll take all the "crutches" I can get when I'm not able to make it on my own. (Which is 24/7.)

I'm grateful to have faith and a God who is there for me when I need Him. And I'm glad to know that whenever I need Him He is there, even if I am searching for answers that just don't/won't come. I've found it's not answers I need. It's the comfort of knowing that the One who knows is the One who cares most and simply says, "Put your cares on me. I can handle it."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Flashback

Today was a capstone to a great weekend at NHC.

The message was a bit more "technical" than what I usually bring, although I hope there was plenty of application there as we considered the everlasting name of God. Yahweh, Jehovah, the LORD. He's eternal and all sufficient. We know Him best as Jesus. I went back and did some tweaking on the message for the second gathering. There were a few rough spots that needed attention. I hope it helped.

The foggy, rainy day didn't keep folks away. In fact, our 11:00 gathering was the largest in several months, except maybe Christmas Eve. The MP 13 Band was amazing, leading us to sing about and to our great God. "Total Tithe Sunday" proved what we already knew. Trusting God with every aspect of our lives, even the most difficult, our finances, works.

A big group of youth from Colossae Baptist Church in King William, VA worshipped with us at 11. Every year we are visited by many groups of youth and adults who come here for retreats, and we're always glad to have them.

Saturday, btw, a dozen new attenders at NHC took my "Discovering Nags Head Church" class. Out of the dozen I think I only knew five prior to the class. That's awesome.

One of our young guys sitting on the front row this morning lost his breakfast during a song. I wouldn't have known it had it not been for one of our volunteer team leaders coming in with a mop to take care of things. Whatever it takes. And several times this morning I was working on some things, just getting ready, and each time someone asked, "Is there something I can do to help you?".

I love this church! God does as well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Shopping with the wife

You know, they don't have these chairs outside the men's dressing rooms. Have you ever thought why not? It's because while the men are inside trying on clothes, the women are searching for more clothes to hand them to try on.

We still need mommy to dress us, I guess.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pastor Dead After Shooting at a First Baptist Church in Illinois

What a sad story.
Who knows what was going on in the shooter's head to make him do something like this?

Would you please pray for the pastor's family and the church

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Flashback

Lots of rain didn't hamper anything today at NHC.

I got to meet some new folks, many who have been invited by others in the church. And I'm still astounded by the growing numbers driving in from Columbia and Elizabeth City, especially on a day like today. Wow!

Our First Impressions team was over the top today. They were out in the parking lot with umbrellas assisting women and children to the church. With a major roof leak causing havoc at the men's room door way they stood guard with a mop, trying to make sure there was safe passage. Then, at 11:00 they were on top of seating situation, adding extra chairs. You all are great!

Our band showed how flexible they are in the first gathering, coming up with an extra song w/o warning and w/o music. The song selections went so well with the message about God coming down to rescue His people and how our lives are changed when we respond to His call. This series on Moses' story is jammed full of relevant life application.

Like most churches in the US, we're seeing the affects of the economy. Members are being laid off from their jobs; foreclosures are imminent for some. So it's necessary for the church to provide the support and encouragement that so many are needing right now. It's also a time for the church to see her mission to the community in providing hope and truth.

Don't forget to set your clock's ahead when you go to bed Saturday night!

The rest of the story...

"Time now for NEWS!"
Paul Harvey, the ABC Radio Network news commentator has died.

My first recollection of hearing his distinctive voice and interesting way of delivering the news was during our family's trek across country in 1971. Since then, if I've ever come across his report on the radio I have always listened in. He was simply entertaining and seemed to embody the values that made our country great.

His era is gone. Too bad.