Monday, December 19, 2011

Worship Fully

In our church family we have taken on the challenge of "Advent Conspiracy." This is a call to take a deeper look at how we celebrate the Advent - the arrival of Jesus into our world. Yet Christmas has become more about buying gifts and sometimes more about getting the stuff we want rather than acknowledging what has been given to us and worshiping the One who gave the greatest Gift of all. So the first challenge of Advent Conspiracy is to worship fully. What do we worship? Worship, in a word, is giving. We give our time, our money, our adoration our lives to whatever, or whomever, we worship. So when we truly worship God we give to Him. Just about everyone who encountered the Messiah at his birth worshiped. Mary, a poor teenage girl to whom God announced that she would be the mother of the Son of God, responded with a song of worship (Luke 1:46-55). The shepherds, the outcasts of their society, doing the "dirty work" of taking care of the flocks, responded to the angel's announcement, went and found the baby in a manger and left his presence praising and glorifying God (Luke 2:20). The wise men, Gentiles looking in from the outside, came to find Jesus and worshiped him as they gave him their gifts (Matthew 2:11). All of this to remind me and you that our response to the arrival of the Messiah is first and foremost to be worship. It makes my Christmas wish list a little less important when I come back to the realization that what God wants most of me is my worship. This Christmas, I pray that you will truly worship the One who was given to you. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Lost

Christmas. How's it going for you so far? Is your tree decorated? Are your lights up? Got your shopping done? Still trying to find that elusive gift for that hard-to-buy-for family member? Been to a party or two or three? Bought some gifts that you felt obligated to buy, but really didn't want to? Watched Rudolph on TV yet? (I love the Island of Misfit Toys!) What about Dickens' Christmas Carol? Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. Here's another one. What about Christmas Lost? Somehow in all of the busyness of Christmas, Christmas has actually gotten lost.

Our church family has been invited to a conspiracy this Christmas. I want to invite you as well. Around our faith family right now, there seems to be a new excitement and a breath of fresh air as we prepare for and celebrate Christmas this year. We have challenged our church to join in on "Advent Conspiracy." It's not original with us. You can link to Advent Conspiracy from our website at www.marshfieldfirst.org. I'm grateful to Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder for creating the concept and developing the emphasis. This simple teaching series has created a buzz in our church family like I have never heard before---and I love it! It is a simple challenge to bring the Christmas story back to the very heart of our Christmas celebration: to worship Jesus fully and exclusively, to spend less on what doesn't really matter, to give more of what does matter, and to love all with the love that comes from our Father and is demonstrated in the gift of His son, Jesus.

Are you longing for a Christmas that is more in line with the heart of God? Then join the conspiracy. In the meantime, if you have already joined the conspiracy I would love to hear your comments on how it has impacted you. Share them below. More next week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Psalm 105: 1-3 (NIV)
There are so many things for which I am thankful. Where do I start? First of all I want it to be known to Whom I am thankful. God is so good and faithful. He is the reason I have so many things for which to be thankful. So above all, I am thankful to God. He is Almighty, Sovereign, Creator of the universe; yet at the same time He is Abba, Father---which is to essentially say, "Daddy!" I am so thankful that the God who is so huge and mighty is also the One who knows me, loves me, accepts me, lifts me up, forgives me and takes care of my every need. And, by the way, He knows you too, and loves you, accepts you, and desires to lift you up, forgive you and take care of your every need as well. He is the One to whom I am thankful. Because of Him I have so many blessings to give thanks for this Thanksgiving season. I am thankful for my beautiful wife, Kimberlee. I am thankful for our daughter, Anna, and for Isaac, our soon-to-be son-in-law. I am thankful for our son, Kyle. God has been so good to me by blessing me through my family he has given me. Each one of them inspires me to be who God desires for me to be. I am thankful for the family I came from and the for family I married into. In addition to my physical family, I am so thankful for my faith family---my church family. What an awesome privilege to be a part of, and attempt to lead, this group of Jesus followers. I think they probably do more for me and my spiritual growth than I do for them. I am thankful for their love and for the opportunity to live life together as we worship, grow and serve together.
I am thankful for each one of you who opens this blog and reads. For whatever reason you have connected with my blog, wherever you are in the United States or in the world, my prayer for you at this time of our Thanksgiving holiday, is that you will also know the God who created you, who loves you and who sent His son, Jesus, to give you everlasting life, peace and real joy. God's blessings upon you at Thanksgiving and throughout this holiday season.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grass and flowers. Reminders and reassurance.

This year our church has been celebrating our 150th anniversary. Over the past several months we have taken time to reflect and remember what God has done among us for a century and a half. Each of our three previous celebrations has been a time of looking back. It has been informative, enlightening and inspirational to see how God has been at work among our church family. God has shown His faithfulness through times of war, disaster and tragedy as well as in times of joy, victory and celebration. God indeed is the God who never changes. Psalm 102:27 says of God, “But you remain the same, and your years will never end;” Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever;” Psalm 119:89 says, “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens;” and 1 Peter 1:24-25 tells us, “the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
With our next celebration service on October 9, we look forward. My hope and prayer is that our look back will propel us forward. The reminder of God’s faithfulness in our past becomes our reassurance of God’s faithfulness for our future. Every generation struggles with change, especially, it seems, in the church. Big changes have been made over the past 150 years, in our own lifetime, and even in the past few years, months or even weeks. What can we count on in the next 50 years of our church’s life? Change. What can you count on in your own life? Change. But we can also count on the fact that we are created by and serve a God who does not change. We can count on the fact that His Word is eternal and stands firm forever.
A lot of things change. Through 150 years of church history in Marshfield, Missouri there has been a lot of “grass and flowers” which Peter wrote about, but what has been consistent, and what will take us through the next 50 years or until Jesus’ return is the unchanging Word of God. It’s a good reminder – and great reassurance!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Every verse was highlighted

Wow. One way to get your blog readership up is to report on a near tragedy in your life, or your child's life. We are so very grateful to each one of you who have prayed for our son and have been an encouragement to us as a family. It's been a week since I gave the last update. Kyle continues to heal remarkably well. Today he had a check-up and got a good report from the doc. Sunday he was back playing in the High Street worship band, except this time he was on guitar and vocals instead of drums. Funny...before he got shot, he didn't know how to play guitar. Now that's a miracle! Just kidding.
Today I read Psalm 27. God never ceases to amaze me by providing just the exact word I need. Today I needed Psalm 27. Here are some of the phrases that spoke to me the most today: "the Lord is the stronghold of my life" (verse 1); "that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord (verse 4); "he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle" (verse 5); your face, Lord, will I seek" (verse 8); "I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (verse 13); "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (verse 14).
Okay, that was pretty much the whole Psalm. It reminds me of a line from Roseann Barr's TV show (that great theologian and singer of the national anthem) when she said, "Remember when my cousin sent us that Bible in the mail...and every verse was highlighted?" Well that was what Psalm 27 felt like today. Every verse was highlighted! Sometimes life kind of wears you out and you just need a quiet place...and a nap! I am so grateful for the living Word of God that speaks so clearly when I listen and gives me strength when I am tired and weak.
Here is the Bible Gateway link to Psalm 27. Click. Read. Be blessed!
Psalm 27

'via Blog this'

Monday, September 5, 2011

Update on our son

Three days ago our son was injured in an accidental shooting. If you don't already know that story, see my previous post. But today our entire family met at Steak N Shake for half-price shakes during happy hour! I'm still amazed. Kyle is only in the beginning of his recovery, but we still marvel at God's grace and goodness. We are so thankful for the prayers and loving words from so many of you. God truly blessed and protected Kyle and continues to do so. He is to be on "light duty" for at least a couple of weeks, then go back to the doc for a check up. He seems to have minimal pain and is able to slowly do just about anything he feels like doing, like go out for a shake, especially if Dad is buying!
Next to our biological family, the people in our church family are the closest people we have in our lives. We truly love our church family. I am called to be a pastor, a shepherd of a flock of God's people. Through this latest "adventure" I realize in a fresh way that, while I may be one of the shepherds, all of our people are the ministers. We have been ministered to beautifully by our spiritual family. This has been a picture of the Body of Christ in action. And because of how my family and I have been ministered to, I feel energized and refreshed to minister. God put us on earth in a physical family, and through faith in Christ, God puts us in a spiritual family. We need each other. Romans 12:5 says, "In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (NIV). I am so very thankful for the faith family we belong to called Marshfield First Baptist.
Wherever you are as you read these words, my prayer for you is that you know what it means to be a part of God's family by putting your faith in Jesus, God's son, and that you connect with a church family who ministers to you and through whom you can minister. We try to bring it all down to three words for our church family: worship, grow, serve. After the weekend's events I am worshiping our Lord with fresh love and gratefulness; I think I am growing - I know there's more growth needed; and out of all of this I have a new desire to serve, to give back because God has given so much to me.
Thank you for ministering to us and for continuing to pray for Kyle's complete recovery.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bullets and other destructive forces

So, our son calls his mom yesterday and begins the conversation with, "I'm o.k. but there's been an accident..." There's so much I could say about that opening line, but, long story short, he had been accidentally shot - the classic accidental discharge while someone was disassembling a weapon - and he was on his way to the hospital. After a couple of hours of scans, xrays and exams the doc tells us about God's miracle. I don't know that the doctor gave God any credit, but nonetheless he was telling us about the miracle that God had just done for our son. We will spare the details, but a .40 caliber bullet passed through his body and exited. Not through an arm or leg, but through his body. The injuries are bad enough as they are and he will be healing for a few weeks, but the bottom line is nothing major was damaged. The doc said one inch in any direction and we would have a very different story. Instead, no surgery required and exactly 23 hours after being admitted to the ER with a gunshot wound, our son is in his own home sleeping on his own bed tonight. Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe that we have a God who, in a fraction of a second, directs the path of a bullet? Do you believe that God is in control, even when bad stuff happens? I do.

This doesn't mean that God is only present with us when there is a "good outcome." He is God. Read the book of Job. God is God even when He allows a bullet or any other destructive force to interrupt our lives. It may take the form of a death, a divorce, a betrayal, a cancer diagnosis, a car accident, a tornado, a job loss, a hurtful word, an innocent mistake and the list goes on. The "good outcome" for the child of God is ultimately God's glory, not our comfort. Jesus said, "In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world." Don't get me wrong. I'm all for good outcomes. I am absolutely grateful and humbled by the one we just got! But I am reminded of words I read earlier this week from Oswald Chambers:
"Living a full and overflowing life does not rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed."
More than twenty years ago a godly evangelist from Louisiana held our infant son in his hands and prayed that God would be glorified through this boy's life. Before this past 24 hours, Kyle's life was already bringing glory to God, but this event just tells me that there is more to come - for Kyle, for me, for you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

30 years?

So, this weekend Kim and I head back to Bama. We will spend a few hours with my dad and my sister and her family, but the main reason for this trip is my 30th high school reunion. Yep, I graduated from high school in Winfield, Alabama in 1981 (Go Pirates!) Hard to believe 30 years have gone by already. Seems like I was just there. Facebook and Twitter make it easy to keep up with many of my classmates these last few years, but there is nothing like being together face-to-face. We were in a small town; we had less than 100 in our graduating class. It was - and still is - a special group of people. Several of us have known each other since kindergarten. And 30 years have gone by since graduation??? Wow! Looking forward to catching up with some old friends. More next week. In the meantime, here's a glimpse of my life 30+ years ago...

Band seniors 1981 (third from left)

B-Team basketball (back row, again third from left)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday night at the river

Our baptism service at the James River on Sunday night was a beautiful time of worship and fellowship. I am grateful to camera operator Bryce Wilks for his excellent videography and to Associate Pastor Brandon Winkler for his editing and creativity. I wanted to share this baptism video so you could share in the experience in at least a small way. I can't help but smile every time each individual goes under the water. It's an awesome reminder that Jesus died, was buried and rose again for you and me. It also reminds us that in Christ, we die to the old way of life and are raised to walk a new life in Him.

Enjoy and be blessed...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A good day of worship

God of this city
This was a good day of worship and fellowship. Been teaching through a message series on reaching our city. I love the Bluetree song, "God of This City." A couple of very interesting stats from our city demographics: nearly 25% live below the poverty line; only 51% in our city are affiliated with a religious group. The field is white unto harvest and the church must respond to the physical and spiritual needs around us. Today I was challenged by Nehemiah's prayer to respond to the needs of our city in compassion, in brokenness and in faith. When Nehemiah was faced with the devastating news from his city, Jerusalem, he turned to the great and awesome God of heaven. As he prayed, he focused more on God than on the problems in Jerusalem. I need to learn that lesson as well. I pray that my heart will break for what breaks God's heart. And as we focus on God rather than on our problems we begin to see the power and faithfulness of God at work. Then we become city-changers!

An evening at the river
Tonight our church family met "down at the river." We had worship and testimonies at the water's edge, then baptized five individuals. There's something about baptism at the river that seems to strike a chord in everyone present. The Spirit was certainly present in that time of worship. I am so very blessed to lead a church family where God's love and unity are so very real. I am thankful to see the church at work in our city as people are reaching out, meeting needs and leading their friends and neighbors to Jesus.

Go make an impact in your city this week!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Great. White. North. Family.

Ok, it's not white in the summer time, but it is great, and we are very north (relative to where we are most of the time). Our family - three-fourths of us, anyway - is in central Minnesota on a little r & r this week. We left 100+ degrees in Missouri yesterday to come to a high in the 80's today! Love it! The lake is beautiful and cool, in more ways than one. I've actually walked on this water before - when it was frozen in the winter! This week we swim and tube and stuff and just generally relax. Thank you to my faith family at home for the time away. Each of us needs a retreat every so often to rest and re-energize.


For some reason, when I'm here, it seems easier to hear what God is saying. I'm sure it has to do with there being no meetings, no schedule, the phone isn't ringing, etc. On the other hand, there's lots of laughing and, dare I say, "cackling." No, this is not a farm. Back to my thought...it seems easier to hear God here. This morning I sat outside looking out over the lake and read the first few chapters of Deuteronomy. Moses was telling Israel to remember what God had told them and to move forward in faith. There were promises to claim. Yet with the Promised Land waiting to be taken, God's first reminder was to give attention to family. Teach your children about God's commands; tell them the stories of how God was faithful to deliver you from slavery, peril, starvation. Tell them how God is still faithful, even when we are unfaithful. And God's promises are for His children today. God has put us on this earth in physical families and when we trust in Christ, God brings us into His spiritual family. That family is called the Church. We need family. For good experiences or bad, we wouldn't be here without our physical families. And just as vital, we need our spiritual family. They are the people who teach us, who love us, who correct us, laugh with us, cry with us or sometimes even disappoint us; but they are family and we need them. I'm thankful for family - for my faith family at Marshfield First Baptist and my physical family. Spending time with them in the great, sometimes white, north is pretty good.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

When you're dead, who will be the preacher?

At our church we just completed a week of Vacation Bible School. The Big Apple Adventure was terrific! VBS is one of the greatest weeks of the year for our Children's Ministry. What a great time to interact with the kids from our church family as well as a whole bunch of them from all over our community. A what a great opportunity to build the foundation of the Gospel in these kids' lives. I really believe that the investment of this week is a significant part of changing lives, cities and even nations. One first grader asked me in front of her whole class, "When you're dead, who will be the preacher?" I loved the question! My answer was, "One of you guys!" I am sure I was talking to future preachers, Sunday School teachers, missionaries as well as school teachers, business leaders, etc. who will make serving Jesus a priority in their lives and careers. These kids are already ministering to people. They brought their friends like crazy this week. And they brought their offering like crazy. They gave school supplies for Kits for Kids and over $950 this week to go to Joplin tornado recovery and to send a kid from New York City to church camp. Incredible!

I was just as thrilled with our incredible VBS staff of volunteers who gave their week to invest in our kids. Every evening there were about 100 volunteers (ages 13 to about 80!) who served the Lord by serving our kids. I love you guys! God has blessed our church family with unity and excitement and a bunch of creative people who love God and genuinely like each other! And I've got to give a mention to "The Men of VBS!" I'm not sure how many of you got in on that Rockettes reenactment, but we could hardly fit all of you in on the video (yes, there's video!). That was awesome - not very coordinated and kind of hairy, but awesome! Then there's Virgil with blue hair and pipe cleaner earrings. I will never forget Virgil with blue hair and pipe cleaner earrings. Also I loved the band in Ruby's Top Hat Cafe and Lounge. I thank God for real men who love to share Jesus creatively with our kids and showing them what it means to be godly men. Thanks VBS staff - men and women. You invested in someone who just may be the preacher when I'm dead. You blessed our kids this week and you blessed me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heartbeat

Last Sunday was a good day of celebration as our church continued our 150th Anniversary celebration. A lot of folks came back home to celebrate with us. It was good to have Pastor David Holt ('82-'92) and Music Minister Barth Fraker ('87-'94) back for the day. I have enjoyed learning our history through this process. It strikes me that it was very significant that in 1861, when our nation, state and even our own town was very divided and consumed by the Civil War, there were some people right here in Marshfield who were more concerned that the Gospel was being proclaimed. Our town was their mission field. Their heartbeat was to reach Marshfield for Jesus. One hundred fifty years later this must still be our heartbeat. Jesus said, "You will be my witnesses in  Jerusalem, in all Judea and in Samaria and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). To bring that into our context, we are to be witnesses in Marshfield, and in all Missouri, across the United States and to the ends of the earth. We have times where our lives are divided and consumed by overwhelming circumstances or crises or we are just totally focused on ourselves. We have to fight those tendencies and check our heartbeat. My prayer for Marshfield First Baptist is that our heartbeat will continue to be the same heartbeat that originally brought life to this group of Jesus followers - that we keep on reaching Marshfield for Jesus, and that we go out from here to the ends of the earth. Last week we welcomed home a mission team from El Salvador. This week we have a team serving in Aurora, Nebraska. Sunday evening is another opportunity to serve our neighborhoods through Summer of Service projects. A week later we launch a home mission effort called Vacation Bible School. Our church has members constantly serving in various places around Missouri through Missourians on Mission and Campers on Mission, in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas and other locations. I am thankful for a church family who has a heartbeat for missions.

You're on a mission field, too. Check your heartbeat and take a look around you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A strange mix

Goodbye to an old friend
Last week our church family was saddened by the death of our good friend and 15-year church custodian, Derry DeGuire. Derry had just retired from his position at our church back in March. He was always a hilarious story teller. He was one of those guys that funny things always seemed to happen to. He was a professional baseball player in his younger days, but still had an arm like nobody else! Derry also worked as a medical courier, and when a guy threatened to rob him a couple of years ago, Derry decked him on the parking lot of the gas station. Don't mess with the "old man!" He always acted like he dreaded Vacation Bible School week at our church because we "trashed" the building every night for a week. But he loved the kids and the kids loved him. Along with his granddaughter, all our daycare kids called him "Pappa Derry." We will all miss him.

Dad
This week my Dad is at my home visiting for a couple of weeks. I'm very grateful to be able to spend some concentrated time with him. He has been through many challenges over the past several years. After dealing with heart surgery, cancer, two knee replacements and Parkinson's, my Dad's famous line is, "I'll keep what I've got if I don't have to keep adding things to it!" He is a trooper! He keeps on going. In the midst of it all he continues to serve the Lord with his gifts and abilities. I am grateful for his godly influence in my life.

4th of July
The 4th of July was a great day of celebration and relaxation all in one. The Marshfield parade was great as always - and hot! It is quite the tradition around here. It's the longest running 4th of July parade west of the Mississippi, with something like 132 consecutive years. Our kids came home for the day and my in-laws joined us, along with my Dad, for a family cookout, a little Bocce ball  and then we capped the day off with the rodeo fireworks. God bless America!

Happy New Year(?)
It's not quite the New Year yet, but in church life, it's closer than you think! Our ministry year and fiscal year begins October 1, so this week has been hard hit with a lot of planning and preparation time for the new church year. I met with groups to enlist new committee members (we try to do as few committees as possible, but there are still a few!), to nominate new or returning ministry leaders and to do budget planning. It took several hours of planning, but a lot of good work was accomplished with some great leaders in our church family. Throw in the final planning meeting for our 150th Anniversary Celebration and I've been slammed with meetings this week. Glad it's Friday! Makes me want to break out into a Rebecca Black song!

Branson, Missouri, here we come
Tomorrow night it's time for a little fun with Dad. He's never been to Branson before so we thought we would liven things up with a little Pierce Arrow comedy! Looking forward to that!

Been a strange week with a real mixture of events. I'm thankful for God's provision for comfort in time of grief, for family, for country, for strength, for milestones and for comedy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jacob Good and the Mission

Our church is 150 years old. Not the buildings; not even the people (I don’t think). There has been a group of Jesus-followers who have been meeting together and calling themselves First Baptist Church in this town since 1861. There were a few gaps in weekly worship services due to the Civil War, fires, financial hardships and a devastating tornado in 1880. There have been trying times. One pastor’s personal problems led him to take his own life in 1914. A beloved pastor, Dwayne Reed, died of cancer in 1982. There have been personal conflicts, disagreements and conflicting philosophies that divided us. But here we are – celebrating our sesquicentennial – 150 years. Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 18:16). We are a living testimony to this truth.

Each quarter this year we are taking time to celebrate and reflect on what God has done in our church family since its beginnings in 1861. July 10, 2011 is the next one. I count it a privilege to “stand on the shoulders” of so very many faithful people over the past 150 years who were faithful to keep on going through some very hard things. My desire as a pastor is to help keep our people focused on God’s purpose for us. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” During the Civil War, God laid hold of Pastor Jacob Good and many others to start a church in Marshfield, Missouri.  We are here 150 years later because of their obedience and determination and because of God’s faithfulness.

When I think about what those people were determined to do as they obeyed God’s calling in their lives back in the 1800’s, it brings up a question for our church today. Are we doing what God intends for us to do as a church? Are we being who God created us to be? We try to bring our purpose down to three words that sum up all we do as a church: Worship. Grow. Serve. These three actions are a vital process if we are to be an obedient and healthy church. But today I want to bring it down to one word: Mission. Jesus “laid hold” of Jacob Good and many others for a mission; their mission was to take Good News to the people around them. A century and a half later, our mission is still the same: take Good News to Marshfield. Our city needs to hear and see the testimony of Jesus through Jesus-followers, just like it happened through the lives of Jacob Good and a small group of people back in the day. We have some different ways in which we do that today, but the mission is the same and the message is the same: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life Verse

Thirty-one years ago I clearly sensed God calling me into ministry. I was seventeen years old, facing college decisions and searching for some direction in life. At my summer life guard job, sitting up in my tall chair, I heard God speak: "Durwin, will you ever be happy doing anything but church work?" That's exactly what I "heard" in my mind. It is perhaps the clearest verbal message I have ever heard from God. Kind of a general question, I know. Maybe I was being called to be the custodian. That's real church work! But I knew in my heart that God was calling me to serve him. It was my "call to preach." My first response was a bit of fear. I didn't want to answer God's question, but I knew He was right. I would never really be happy if I was not following what He wanted for my life. After struggling with this thought for a few weeks, I finally talked with my pastor and my youth pastor, then, on a Sunday night, I shared with my whole church what God was doing in my life. That night, Andy, my youth pastor, shared a scripture verse with me that would impact my life every day since. It has become what I call my "life verse." Philippians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." I have grown to realize that the good work God began in my life thirty-one years ago (and even earlier), He continues to this day. Life is not always easy; church work/ministry is a joy (mostly), but it is real work! But God never fails. He faithfully continues the work He has begun in my life, and He will do so until the day I stand before Jesus. That's what keeps me going. It's not my work; it's His. And this promise is good for you too. Whatever God wants to do in your life, let Him. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The first blog post

I'm jumping off into the world of blogging. It's a little scary, like preaching my first sermon, which I'm sure wasn't very good. But then, there were more people watching and listening then than are reading this now. OK. Pressure's off.

CFuge/MFuge
Last week, Kim and I traveled with our students  and youth leaders to Fuge Camp at Mississippi College, Clinton, MS. It was an awesome week. I have never quite fully grown out of my youth ministry days. I love spending time with jr. high and high school students who are discovering God's plan for their lives and living it out. These students were so tuned in to what God wanted to say to them. The MFugers were out each day serving in the surrounding communities. Our students led nine boys and girls to Christ last week! That's incredible! And this week they are mobilizing to serve right here at home. That's what it's all about. We go on a journey to hear from God, repent and receive the fresh wind of His Spirit. Then we realize that the real journey is right here where we live everyday. I needed this experience with God as much or more than any of our students. I love this generation of students who want to make a real difference in their world for Jesus. God, help me to make a difference in my little part of your world.

My daughter
Today is my daughter's 23rd birthday. Anna, I love you. You are beautiful. God has blessed me with an incredible daughter who loves Jesus. You serve Him with all your creativity and talents. I am so thankful for you.