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Archive for January, 2010

It’s Gonna Snow!

It’s going to be a potentially BIG SNOW for Northwestern NC tonight and tomorrow.  Snow is to begin following around 5-6 pm tonight and pick up in intensity through the evening with heavy snow (one inch an hour rates) by midnight.  We’re looking for 10″ totals.  The only “fly in the ointment” could be the development of thunderstorms along the gulf states.  If that happens, those storms could rob some of the streaming moisture into the state and limit or knock down our snow totals into more of the 5″-8″ totals.  We’ll be able to tell later today as the storm gets ramped up and starts pulling in gulf moisture.  But, either way…expect snow…and plenty enough for the kids to go sledding by late evening and certainly tomorrow. 

Ok…so do I sound like a weatherman?  Yep…anyone that know me knows I’m a weather nut.  When the Blizzard of ’93 hit…I was taping the Weather Channel Reports and Weatherman Eric Thomas on WBTV-Channel 3.  I knew it was going to be a big storm and it was.  I drove through Hugo in ’89 and honestly I really am a little “nutty” when it comes to weather.  Currently, I”m a “Weather Watcher” for WXII-12 in Winston-Salem, NC.  It’s a lot of fun.  I have a spreadsheet that I document the high, the low, precipitation, type and wind gusts for each day.  I report that information to WXII each afternoon around 4 pm.  

So, why do you like weather so much?  I’m not sure.  I’ve loved weather watching since I was a kid.  I learned a lot about weather in a class I had at Appalachian State my freshman year.  It was a geography class…but, the professor loved weather…so, we talked a lot about weather, cloud formations, etc.   And I guess as I think about it…weather is intriguing to me because there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.  I mean think about it.  Can man control anything about the weather?  Can we stop this storm coming?  Absolutely not.  All man is to the weather is simply an observer.  There is nothing man can do about the weather.  It’s going to happen no matter what we say or do.  Why?  Because God is in control of the weather.  100% control!

You know this is comforting to me.  And honestly, it comforts me about my own life and my own situation.  If I’ll let Him, God will control me just like He controls the weather.  He will orchestrate what needs to happen in my life if I’ll just relax and let Him do the work as I rest in Him.  You know, “life” is going to happen to us all and there is nothing we can do about it.  So, let’s be like a child…(my children are bouncing off of the walls wanting to go sledding again) and enjoy the storm.  Enjoy the storm?  Yes…enjoy the storm.  The Apostle Paul did in Scripture.  He said in Ephesians 5:20 that we should live “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  

Did you catch that?  We are to ALWAYS give thanks to God for EVERYTHING.  Always and everything.  That pretty much covers it all does it not?  We are to be thankful 100% of the time.  Ouch!  I wish he had said we should give thanks just when we “felt like it.”  Or we should give thanks when everything is going right and all the bills are paid, the cars are all running, the home team is winning, the income tax refund is in the mail.  But, that’s not what he said is it?  He said, “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “  Whew!  Is that hard for you?  It sure is for me.  I mean who wants to give thanks when the tire on the car is flat in the garage.  But, think about it…it’s better than it being flat in the Wal-Mart parking lot when it’s pouring the rain or it going flat on the freeway.  Right?

We should be thankful even when we don’t have enough money to pay the bills.  Yes…always and in everything the Bible says…”be thankful.”  But, how can we be thankful for having no money?  Well, be thankful for what you do have.  If you have your health…then you have your wealth.  All the money in the world can’t replace your health.  Be thankful that you can work with folks in most cases to get your bills paid on a payment plan or perhaps someone may come along and help you out of a bind.  This has happened to me numerous times and I bet it has for you too.  I mean think about it.  Has God ever let you down?  Ever?  Even just once?  The answer is unequivocally NO.  He doesn’t let us down…we let ourselves down and He comes and picks us back up, dusts us off and puts us back on the right path again.  Amen?  So, we should always be thankful…in everything.

Think about Mary.  Mary broke the expensive perfume bottle and poured it all over Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.  Why? Just to lavish thanksgiving and praise upon our Lord.  The “gift” of thanksgiving through her action filled the house with such a sweet smell.  Funny how that works.  When we pour out a perfume of kind encouragement in our homes to our wives and children, in our workplaces, ball fields, etc…boy that gratitude really “fills the house,” so to speak, with a sweet fragrance doesn’t it?  So we can be thankful at all times and “perfume” the air around us…or we can “stink it up” with our negative…complaining attitudes.

So, the storm is coming…cold, snow, wind.  Yes…it will mean shoveling…clearing the driveway…cold mornings.  But, think about it…it also means…seeing the beauty of a landscape draped in white…reminding me that my sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus and I’m whiter than snow.  As you watch the snow fall later this evening and tonight.  Be thankful!  Be grateful for a Heavenly Father that is in 100% control.  He’s got the weather and He’s got you.  “For I will give rest to the weary and satisfy the faint.”  Jeremiah 31:25 

So, enjoy!!  It’s Gonna SNOW!!!

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“Homegrown” Pastor

When Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church was searching for and seeking God’s leadership on a Senior Pastor five years ago, they made an exhaustive search for their future pastor.  A church deserves an exhaustive search after all, because they are after all seeking “God’s man.”  In so doing, the pastor search committee at obtained dozens of resumes, including mine.  I sensed God was calling me to become the pastor, but would the church even consider “one of their own” and someone that did not have a seminary degree?  The church had resumes from men from all over the country and some who even had their Doctorate, I was later told.

However, after many months of prayer and deliberation, the committee and ultimately the church ended up choosing me…someone that quite interestingly and (almost unheard of) had grown up in the church and had served in all capacities as a Deacon, Sunday School teacher and having served on every committee in the church numerous times.  In essence what they had with me was someone who grew up and was “raised” in the church by the very people I would now pastor.  Therefore, I knew the people, the families, the community at large and had lived in the community for many years, (basically all of my life).   Bottom line…the committee and ultimately the church decided to take a chance that someone from within their own ranks could “shepherd” them.

I’m still amazed that I’m a pastor at the church I grew up in as a child.  And when I think about the committee of men and women who was willing to take the “heat” for me…because God had spoken to them…it still amazes me.  Why do I say this…because when you consider a person from within the ranks of your “own” you may have the desire to immediately dismiss that man from consideration or if you do consider him, you may take “heat” from some for doing so, because it seems “easy” or too “convenient.”  However, if the Lord is in it…then (as was the case with me and MPBC) He will take care of the questions with open and honest communication by the committee to the people as to what the Holy Spirit was doing in the search process.

Interestingly in Scripture, as was pointed out to me by Dr. David Black, professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (whom I travel with annually to Ethiopia to do mission work), pastors or “elders” as they are more commonly called in the New Testament were chosen from “within” the body of believers.  In fact, as Dr. Black pointed out, if you read the book of Acts you will find the Apostle Paul went from church to church appointing elders from men already serving within the church.  In essence, they were not parachuted in from another town or region.  They were already known by the people and trusted by them and proven to be desirous to serve in that church and community.  What we have today in many of our Baptist churches according to the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) is a situation where pastors are staying on average only about 3.5 years in each pastorate.  Why?  Because they have no roots in the community.  I had never thought about this…but, Dr. Black shared with me from his perspective as a professor for many at a prominent seminary, that most churches have it backwards…instead of looking from within for their pastors (elders) as we see in Scripture…they go for the best resume, degree and educational backward and after a few interviews and a potluck supper or two later…voila, they have a new pastor.  One that is often gone within 3-5 years when they receive or find a bigger or better offer from a bigger or “better” church dangling a higher salary before their eyes.

I must say that I am so excited about what God is doing and I have no plans to go after the money or the title or the bigger city or bigger pastorate.  I’m excited about what God is doing at MPBC in Wilkesboro, a lovely little town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina.  I’m excited that we have seen over 75 people join the church in the last year.  Amazing!  I’m excited to see that we are growing not only numerically, but more important spiritually.  We are mentoring, discipling and reaching out to our community.  I serve with an excellent pastor, Brad Cordray and his gifts and talents are fantastically being used to equip or people for the glory of God.

Oh…enough already…yes…I know…it seems I’m bragging and that’s certainly not spiritual and I don’t mean to give that impression.  I’m just ecstatic and overwhelmed to be serving and training and equipping folks and seeing lives changed and brought to Christ right in my own back yard and amazingly, with folks, of whom, some used to change my diaper.  Ha!!  Amazing indeed!   To God be the glory…great things He has done!

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