Category Archives: Christian Unity

A Saturday Business Meeting (2-25-17)

First order of business…

Encourage a blogger. Not every blogger get a lot of views on Saturdays. Why not go to a blog or two and find a post, or just the “about” page, and leave a nice word of encouragement? It doesn’t have to be about something they’ve written, just something positive.

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the blogger will do anything to maintain his habit of changing the world one post at a time.

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the blogger will do anything to maintain his habit of changing the world one post at a time.

Believe me, a kind word at the appropriate time can mean more than the world – and you never know what a person is going through.

Second order of business…

Go to church tomorrow (Sunday)!

Yes, I said it. Go where there is a community of Jesus-following believers who study God’s Word and enjoy some real, honest, down-to-earth fellowship.

There are many of you out there (you know who you are) who think church is a thing of the past, or worse, not necessary. Oh, how wrong you are! Not only is it something needed today, but it is something loved by Jesus and commanded by Scripture.

Bass Boat Baptist? Give me a break! Some of you may think that you can worship by yourself, at home, at the lake, in the garage, hung over under a table after a party the night before, etc. Well, with exception of the “under the table” part, maybe; however, there is a big difference between “personal devotions” and corporate worship. Believe it or not, you need more than yourself and a fishing pole to “have church.”

Don’t believe in “organized religion?” Why? Is it because of some bad examples you have witnessed? I hope so, because surely you’re not using Jesus as an excuse, are you? It was Jesus, remember, who came “not to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law.” Jesus wasn’t some unwashed, long-haired, holy man who wandered the streets talking nonsense. Jesus was called “Rabbi.”  He preached in the synagogues and the temple, too; not just house fellowships, or in one-on-one conversations.

Don’t need a preacher? It’s hard to argue there’s no need for a  pastor/teacher when the Holy Spirit thinks he’s needed  (Ephesians 4:11). Are you a loner? A Christian mercenary? Not biblical. Consider the following words from the Apostle Paul to the “pastors” from Ephesus…

(17)And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. (28) “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” – Acts 20:17, 28-29

It’s about others, too. Find a place where God’s word is faithfully taught, without apology, and learn from those whom God has gifted for this holy purpose (1 Timothy 5:12-12; Hebrews 13:17). Then, consider this: by going, you just may encourage someone else in the process.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. – Hbr 10:24-25

P.S. Listen to me on WFLI AM1070 at 5pm Sunday if you’re in the Chattanooga area 🙂

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Filed under Uncategorized, Christian Unity, Preaching, God, worship

Divine Irreconcilabilty

The doctrine of divine irreconcilability is the point where the sovereignty of God and the free will of man meet in the light of the glory of the Gospel.  – A. Baker

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Filed under Christian Unity, God, Theology

Let’s End the Election vs Free Will Debate

The years and years of debate between the seemingly polar-opposite doctrines of election and free will can now come to an end. Free coffee and donuts for all. 

I submit to you two words:

Divine Ireconcilibility

You’re welcome. 

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Filed under Bible Study, Christian Unity, Christianity, God, Theology, Uncategorized

Different, Yet the Same

South Soddy

Yesterday (Sunday) I was blessed to be able to preach at two different churches, one in the morning, the other in the evening.

Yesterday morning I was the guest speaker at South Soddy Baptist Church. The congregation there was warm and friendly and very receptive to the message I delivered. Below it a picture I took inside the auditorium (sanctuary).

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Notice, South Soddy Baptist was constructed back in 1946. It is small, simple building by today’s standards.

Mile Straight

Last night I was very privileged to be invited to speak at Mile Straight Baptist Church. Mile Straight is a much more modern building (it’s been remodeled, too) with plenty of up-to-date technology. Click HERE to visit their website – it’s pretty cool.

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Notice, even though Mile Straight has a more modern layout than South Soddy, something about the two are very similar. Can you tell what that is?

Neither have big choir lofts.

I first noticed this at South Soddy yesterday morning. I noticed how in the old design of this church the focus was never supposed be on the choir. Instead of an entertainment-like model many Christians have come to expect, this old church was set up so that the congregation would do all the singing and “worshiping,” not simply be entertained by the choir.

When I got to Mile Straight I saw the same thing. Oh, Mile Straight used to have a choir, but not so much anymore (I think). No, more focus is place on congregational singing than choirs. Even though they do have more of a “praise team,” the idea is to lead the congregation in worship rather than just sit and listen to others do it.

Honestly, I have no problem with wonderful, trained choirs. Friday night I got to hear my daughter Katie sing a solo in her college choir, and it was chillingly glorious! But that was a true performance…we paid to go see that. Church services should never be about entertaining the crowd; they should be about corporate worship. So, have a choir if you want, but encourage the congregation to be more than just consumers.

Two very different church congregations and buildings, yet still very alike in at least one important way.

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Filed under baptist, Christian Unity, Church, worship

Resigning to Trust My Shepherd

Most of the time I can enter the title of a post before I begin to write it. In this case I don’t know what to call it. All I know to to do is start writing and let things fall into place.

That’s sort of where I am in life, right now; I don’t know where I am going, but I had to get going to find out.

Old News

By the time you read this post, someone in my former congregation will have read aloud my formal resignation as Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church – at least I hope they read it…all of it. It took me a couple of hours to craft it, all 1,026 words worth, and some of the words were painful to write. However, it had to be done.

Themes

In my resignation letter I focused on two main themes. First, it was important to note that the Church, including the local body of believers I pastored, did not belong to any of us; it belongs to Jesus Christ. Secondly, I stressed the importance of effective leadership: both the need to have it, and the willingness to accept it.

If either one is dysfunctional with either party (the pastor or the congregation), tension will grow…even worse, the power of the Holy Spirit will fade.

Feels like…

Therefore, based on several reasons, I had to accept the fact that my leadership was no longer effective, thereby necessitating a change, however painful and scary it may be. Unfortunately, it feels like a divorce (even though I’ve never experienced one). Maybe I could say it feels like a death, but that’s not really true – I have experience that kind of loss many times.

What it does feel like, however, is a missed opportunity…an “Oh, well” moment. I guess that’s why it’s called a “resignation.”

More to Do

Nevertheless, I will share with you the closing words of my resignation letter, for they express something that is more important than anything else – God is still sovereign! He’s got this! None of this caught Him by surprise, for He already has been working to make things new.

If you will remember, the Mission Statement of Riverside is as follows:

Reach the Lost, Rescue the Perishing, and Restore the Wounded for the Glory of God.”

Continue to reach the lost… We will. Endeavor to rescue the perishing… We will. And especially today, seek to restore the wounded, heal divisions, and move forward with grace and forgiveness… We will.

Pray for Us

Please, please, pray for my family and me as we seek to follow God to the next field of service, wherever that may be. Please pray for my former flock that they will find a more suitable shepherd and follow his leading.

Also, please pray that I will be able to put in to practice the lessons I have learned over the last eight years, thereby being able to replace the “missed opportunity” feeling with assurance that all things work together for good, to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.

After all, there are still plenty of lost, perishing, and wounded out there.

 

Now I know how to title this post 🙂

 

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Filed under baptist, Christian Maturity, Christian Unity, Church, Future, Life Lessons, ministry, Preaching, the future

10 Things Christian Bloggers Wished the Rest of the Universe Could Understand

This list first appeared back in May of this year, but I thought it was worth re-posting… sorta like “the best of The Recovering Legalist.” Bloggers unite 😉 

The Audience

If you are reading this – evidently you are – it is probably because you are on some form of social media, like Facebook or Twitter. it is also possible you received an email notification as a subscriber, or you were forwarded a message from a friend who said, “You’ve GOT to read this!”

On the other hand, you may be a blogger who was surfing recent posts from followed sites or “suggestions”form WordPress (or some other inferior blogging platform). Those of you in this group – the bloggers – will understand what I’m about to write; the rest need help.

The following list will be less of a shocker than an affirmation of what Christian (and some pagan) bloggers already believe about themselves or others within their “community.” Therefore, the following list is meant more for the casual Facebook reader, the neglected child with a school project due, and the wife or husband whose eyes roll more often than a bowling ball.

10 Things Christian Bloggers Wished the Rest of the Universe Could Understand

1. The ability to write is a gift from God; the ability to write well takes work. Every post, if it’s worth posting, should be well-written. A poorly-written post is a poor reflection on the message we have to share. Therefore, don’t get upset if we spend 3 hours crafting a 500-word work of art.

2. Blogging is a form of worship. I know, it may sound crazy, but blogging can be a very legitimate means of giving praise and honor to God. Christian bloggers regularly speak of the goodness of God, praise Him in the midst of struggles, and challenge others to trust Jesus. Christian bloggers LOVE to praise God through computer screens all over the world!

3.  Christian bloggers are internet missionaries! You don’t have to travel the world to teach people with the Good News; you can do it from your kitchen! That’s right with a simple blog piece one person can instantly share relevant Truth in over 100 countries! Last time I counted, I’ve had readers in 126.

4.  Everything is fodder for a blog post. That’s right, everything from one’s recent trip to the mall to one’s battle with cancer – it’s all worth writing about, especially to the one who sees God’s hand working everywhere.

5.  Household chores will take care of themselves. Families of bloggers are usually the most stressed of housekeepers, but this need not be. Worse come to worse, dirty dishes, un-walked pets, and un-made meals can be used as writing topics (see point 4).

6.  Blogging is reporting. All bloggers wish the world would give us more respect. I mean, seriously, we deserve Press credentials! If you write a well-written blog you should be allowed into all political events, meetings, and all concerts for free. As for me, I think every blogger is a potential food and restaurant critic – we should eat for free.

7.  Christian bloggers don’t have selective hearing; we have selected focus. When I’m at the computer, don’t assume I hear anything you say. When I’m writing I’m in the “zone,” so voices outside the “zone” are muted. If you want my attention, offer food or show legitimate interest in what I’m writing.  Otherwise, don’t assume I heard you tell me to pay that bill.

8.  Donations are always welcome. Just because we Christian bloggers love doing what we do, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t accept money. Money buys better computers, custom themes, and comfortable desk chairs.

9.  The Christian blogging “community” is a real thing with real people. Honestly, some of my best friends are bloggers I’ve met online. Several of us have met in person, prayed with each other, and shared in genuine Christian fellowship and worship. Bloggers love bloggers 🙂

10.  Christian bloggers come in all virtual shapes and sizes. Not every Christian is alike, and neither are our blogs. We are all unique and bring our own perspectives to the discussion of life. Don’t read just one.

So, what are your thoughts? Any points you’d like to share with the universe?

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the blogger will do anything to maintain his habit of changing the world one post at a time.

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the Christian blogger will do anything to maintain his habit: changing the world one post at a time.

 

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity, Christianity, Humor

You Love Jesus, but You Hate Church? Really?

First, the Body of Christ (the Church) is not a building, but a blood-bought people, the Bride of Christ. Got it.

However, body parts tend to group together, don’t they? Otherwise, those separate parts have a tendency to rot and die. I hope you get it.

So, when we read in the book of Acts where Saul (later Paul) was heading out to track down Christians in order to put them in jail, or worse, what did Jesus say when he appeared on the road to Damascus?

… “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” – Acts 9:4 NKJV

Did you see that?? Jesus so closely identified with the Christians – the Church – that he asked Saul why he was persecuting HIM! Persecuting the Church equated with persecuting Jesus!

Now, with that in mind, what do you think Jesus thinks when you disparage His followers? What do you think He would say if you were to tell him (after falling to your knees under a blinding light), “Jesus, I love you, but I have no desire to meet with others who love you”?

Get it?

Jesus is very fond of gatherings in His name.

Do you love Jesus? Love his Church. Be a part.

church glad to go

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Filed under Christian Unity, Church