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Take a look at your own footprints

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One of the my favorite things about the recent snowstorm was watching my kids play.  My youngest is 6 years old and had never seen real snow, and she loved every minute of it. We have been doing all we can to take advantage of it, as it doesn’t snow much in our part of Oklahoma.    More than once I told my daughter to walk in my footsteps, as the snow was deep and she’s not very tall.  The snow would have been over her boots in spots, and I did what I could to lead the way. But as she followed me she asked me “why do you walk so funny, Daddy?”  I turned around to look, and you could clearly see my big boot prints in the snow. My right foot tends to turn outwards for some reason. I’ve known I walked that way for some time due to a knee injury and other issues, but the snow made it very easy to see just what kind of footprints I was leaving.  There was no mistaking those footprints for anyone else’s.   As I watched my daughter walk in my steps I realized that she was following in more th

Don't Make The Gospel An Addition To Your Church

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Recently I wandered through a church that closed down. The building was old and worn down, it’s newness wore off after decades of ministry. They sold their building to another ministry, and that group had begun removing leftover junk and preparing it for a new life.  Stripped of it’s possession and people, the church was uncomfortably bare.  The original building was quite small, but had been added on to over the years as time and need made it necessary.  The classrooms on the left were a step down from the sanctuary, and the fellowship hall in the back had been added after that. Each addition had it’s own construction style, and when you looked close you could obviously see where the original building had been added to.  You’ve undoubtedly seen a building or home like this. More space is needed so an addition is made to the back or the side, or even up top.  When you look closely it’s easy to see that one part is new or older, or tacked on the back. A window is covered up or a doorway

Hallmark Movies and the church

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  There are many traditions around Christmas time.  Caroling, presents, families, and so much more are just a few of them. But if your house is like mine then a new holiday tradition has emerged: watching as many Hallmark Channel Christmas movies as a sane person can handle.  Each Christmas since 2011 the Hallmark Channel runs a string of holiday films in a row, and they have become an important tradition for many people.  Oftentimes the same people appear in multiple movies, and they always follow a predictable script.  A big city person comes to the small town and learns the true meaning of the holiday.  It also works when a small town person goes to the big city to teach others about Christmas.  Another common theme is an overworked man/woman who is too busy for love and they find it at Christmas time.  Each year it seems like hundreds of  new movies are made, but they all follow the same dozen plot lines. It’s exceedingly easy to mock these movies, and I am more or less banned from

Hand Tools and the Kingdom of God

  In 1892 in Clayton County Iowa John Froelich invented something that would soon become a staple of farms across the world.  It didn’t have a name yet but what it did was something incredible.  It was the first successful gasoline powered engine that could maneuver forwards and backwards.  Froelich had invented what came to be known as the tractor. Before this many farmers relied on steam powered engines and back breaking work to thresh wheat. Those engines were heavy and hard to maneuver, so Froelich wanted something smaller but with more power.  That first fall with his new engine his crew was able to thresh 72,000 bushels of wheat, making the new equipment a roaring success.   As long as man has had to work, he has been looking for a way to make that work easier. Everything from the first wheel, to the horse drawn plow, to the biggest satellite driven combine tractors today are an extension of that desire to make the job easier.  “Work smarter, not harder” is the mantra of many peo

It's time to hit the gas!

  Even major accidents are caused by minor things. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that every year 16,000 car crashes occur because of what they call “pedal errors.” This is when a driver’s foot slips off the brake and presses the accelerator, when they hit the gas pedal by mistake, or when the driver accidentally steps on both the brake and gas at the same time.  This happens more often to very young drivers or very old ones, but the truth is anyone is capable of a mistake like this. When you hit the wrong pedal at the wrong time you risk running into something or someone.  At the very least you might do big damage to the vehicle you are driving. Leaders of churches and organizations often make these same kinds of mistakes.  As the pastor or leader it’s our job to know when to hit the gas or when to hit the brakes, and messing them up can cause quite the spectacular crash.  There are too many stories to tell of pastors that came into a church and tr

A review of "Baptists and the Christian Tradition"

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I was finally able to finish the recent book from B&H Academic "Baptists and the Christian Tradition: Towards an Evangelical Baptist Catholicity." The book is a collection of essays edited by Matthew Emerson, Christopher Morgan, and  R. Lucas Stamps.   The goal of the book is to promote "retrieval for the sake of renewal" by exploring the connection between Baptists and the greater Christian traditions.  Through a series of 16 essays different authors explore various parts of the church and how Baptists are connected to them.  The topics include unity, Trinitarianism, Christology, Ecclesiology, and many others.  The essays guide the reader to see the connection that Baptist's have to christian tradition, why some Baptists try to deny that, and the benefit of understanding our shared history.  It stands to reason that since the book is from the academic arm of the B&H Publishers it is aimed towards higher education.  I read the book as a non-professional

Don't Miss What God is Doing

When the sermon was over the old deacon stood up and said he had something to say. People shifted nervously in their seats as the packed church began to listen.   “There is such a thing as a church duty when the whole church must act… it is my deep conviction, and yours for we have talked much with one another, that this church has a church duty to perform, and that we have waited long enough to perform it.”   At the close of his speech he motioned for the country church to ordain a young man to the gospel and to do it the next day.   Despite his protests, FBC Whitewright ordained a young GW Truett to ministry the very next day at the church.   It was clear to this old deacon that God was working and the church had better get with it.   He was proven right as Truett led a storied career and pastored FBC Dallas for 47 years in the first half of the 20th century.   It can be very clear when God is working, but sometimes we get so caught up in what we want God to do that we mis

Herschel Hobbs and a statment for all Baptists

Controversy is not new to Baptist life.  More than sixty years ago many promised fireworks at the annual meeting if their issues were not addressed, others predicted a convention divided, and everyone was grumbling about supposed problems with professors.  I’m not talking about our most recent controversy though. Those issues and more were at stake in the early 1960’s. In 1961 doctrinal controversy was set off by the release of the book “Message in Genesis” by Ralph Elliot.  The release of the book merely brought to the surface tensions which had long been simmering. There was a concern among many that parts of the convention were becoming more “liberal” in their theology and the book was just the proof they were looking for.   The leaders of the SBC were aware of the crisis at hand.  So early in 1962 Porter Routh and Albert McClellan met in the office of Herschel Hobbs to discuss how to avoid division.  Routh was Executive Secretary of the Executive Committee. McClellan was a