Monday Musings (7-9-18)

Coffee cup on Black

  • For pastors, Mondays can be a train wreck of emotions.
  • Throw in 2 morning meetings (1 that went terribly) and I feel like I have been run over by a Mack truck!
  • This morning I read through several Psalms, having no idea that one verse that I highlighted would feed my soul today.
  • “O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge…” (Psalm 7:1a)
  • Maybe that verse is one that you need to cling to as well.
  • We continued in our series yesterday through the book of Ecclesiastes.
  • Our time together focused on chapter 7 verses 1-14.
  • The message was entitled, “Practical Wisdom for Daily Living.”
  • It was a first for me…I had 12 sermon points!!!
  • I let the church know that ahead of time and everyone laughed…then I told them I was serious.
  • Usually, the messages I preach have 3 points but there was no way to distill the verses into that few of points.
  • I am also not a big list person when it comes to preaching.
  • I am always concerned that people will take the list (5 Ways to Have a Better Marriage, etc.) and try to follow it without truly grasping the why behind the list.
  • Solomon spent the previous chapters of Ecclesiastes highlighting the truth that life apart from a relationship with God is pointless.
  • We may seek to find meaning in any number of things but they will never satisfy the deepest longings of our heart.
  • Jesus is the only one who can fill that void.
  • If you take the 12 points I walked through and divorce them from a relationship with Jesus as the foundation of life, you will miss Solomon’s true point.
  • All of those truths that were mentioned are impotent without a solid foundation.
  • If you are so inclined you can listen to the message here.
  • I started reading James Patterson’s novel, The President is Missing, last night.
  • This is a book he co-wrote with former President Bill Clinton.
  • All the reviews say it is fascinating and a real page-turner.
  • I could hardly put it down last night but finally did for my sanity!
  • Well, I’m off to get in a little bit of exercise.
  • Everyone loves a 3-mile run when it is 92 degrees.
  • Gotta love Southwest Florida!
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Monday Musings (7-2-18)

Coffee cup on Black

  • Happy Monday friends!
  • I dropped off our girls at Winshape Camp this morning.
  • They were excited to start the week.
  • This is the first year that they will participate but we have heard great things.
  • We have quite a few kids from our church attending.
  • Speaking of church…we had a great day of worship together yesterday.
  • There is nothing I love more than gathering with my church family.
  • What a great privilege to live in a country where we can freely gather to worship the Lord.
  • I continued our sermon series through Ecclesiastes yesterday and we worked through chapter 6.
  • The focus of our time was on 3 questions:
  • What good is great wealth if you can’t enjoy it? (v. 1-6)
  • What good is great hunger if you can’t satisfy it? (v. 7-9)
  • What good are great questions if you can’t answer them? (v. 10-12)
  • The main idea I left our church with was: A relationship with Jesus makes life worth living.
  • We will never be fully satisfied (have a life worth living) until Jesus is enough!
  • We have an exciting opportunity with regards to our building project at NRC that I am not able to share at the moment.
  • Let’s just say it would be amazing if it materilized.
  • Will you join me in praying for God’s provision?
  • I’m so excited about finally having a permanent home for North River Church.
  • In other news…we only have 61 days left until UGA plays their first fall football game!
  • Let’s suffer through the heat of July and August so that we can enjoy fall football!
  • Well I’m going to get back at it.
  • Have a great week!

Hey Pastor, Sing!

May I make one confession? I would rather listen to a podcast than a worship song.

Gasp……

Now that I got that off my chest, I want to remind pastors (myself included) that people watch us worship on Sundays. I don’t mean they solely focus on us, but they do take note of whether or not we are signing. They notice when we are distracted or when we are aloof.

I attended a conference last year and was pleasantly surprised with the pastors there who were delivering the conference messages. Instead of camping out in a green room prior to their turn to preach, they all stayed in the service and participated. They sang. They raised their hands. They prayed. They cried out to the Lord in worship and praise. As a conference attendee, I was encouraged and challenged. Their sermons had more credibility because I had just watched them worship.

Let’s be honest, there are a ton of distractions for pastors on Sundays. Often times, we find ourselves anxious about the upcoming message we will deliver and the temptation may be to steal a few moments of extra prep during the singing. There may be fires that need to be put out and we may try to take care of those prior to delivering the message. We notice if the sound isn’t quite right. We cringe when the words are not being scrolled well on the screen. We fret about why the temperature is too cold or too hot. We wonder why a certain family is not at church for the third week in a row. I could go on and on!

Here is the bottom line: our people need to see us worship and we desperately need to worship before we preach. May we be able to say to our people, “Worship with me as I worship Christ!”

Pastors, Do We Want To “Be” God? (Reading Notes)

“A curious thing happens to us when we get a taste of God. It happened first in Eden and it keeps happening. The experience of God – the ecstasy, the wholeness of it – is accompanied by a temptation to reproduce the experience as God. The taste for God is debased into a greed to be God. Being loved by God is twisted into a lust to God-performance. I get a glimpse of a world in which God is in charge and think maybe I have a chance at it. I abandon the personal presence of God and take up with the depersonalized and canny serpent. I flee the shining face of God for a slithery world of religion that gives me license to manipulate people and acquire godlike attributes to myself. The moment I begin cultivating the possibility of acquiring that kind of power and glory for myself, I most certainly will want to blot out the face, flee from the presence of the Lord, and seek a place where I can develop pride and acquire power.” (Eugene Peterson in Under the Unpredictable Plant)

Charles Spurgeon & Family Worship

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I remember the day, the hour, and the chair I was sitting in at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s library when I first read Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, A Pastoral Visit. My wife was pregnant, and I was training to become a pastor.

I was excited and terrified at the same time. Children are an amazing blessing from God and an incredible responsibility.

Spurgeon’s sermon was a great encouragement to me as I prepared to be a father. It was also a great challenge.

Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I had never experienced what Spurgeon called “family prayer.” To my recollection, we did not have a specific time set aside to worship together as a family. My parents loved Jesus and took us to church, but they were unfamiliar with the concept of family worship (“family prayer” as referenced by Spurgeon).

Family worship is a daily gathering of the family, which consists of spending time worshipping God through His Word, prayer, and singing. Noting its importance, Spurgeon proclaimed, “If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship.”

Charles Spurgeon emphasized the importance of family worship in his writing, his public preaching, and his private practice. A visitor to Spurgeon’s home once said that Spurgeon was a grandeur man while leading his family in worship than while preaching to thousands.

This should not surprise us at all because it was Spurgeon himself who declared, “Just as I, as a preacher, would never miss an opportunity of saying anything here which I met with in the week, and which I thought you ought to hear, so let the Christian father be studying each day how he may instruct the church in his house in the fear of the Lord more perfectly!”

Charles Spurgeon practiced what he preached. Even though he had a packed ministry schedule, he recognized his primary ministry was at home. Spurgeon faithfully led his family in worship, and when he was out of town, his wife stepped in to fulfill this important role.

Spurgeon’s passion for family worship is contagious. Take a few minutes to read through his sermon, A Pastoral Visit. My prayer is that God would use this message in your life as he did in mine.

Monday Musings (2-5-18)

Coffee cup on Black

  • Did you have the January blues?
  • For some reason I struggled through the month of January.
  • Usually, I hit the ground running during the first month of the year but this year was different.
  • We have walked through quite a bit, as a family, since early November.
  • Life has not been normal.
  • We have felt a bit off-kilter over the past 3 months.
  • I’m ready for a bit of normalcy to take hold.
  • It is a joy to know God uses us in spite of being out of sorts.
  • He is good.
  • His grace is sufficient.
  • He is the calm in the storm.
  • Just this past week I took some time to get back to woodworking.
  • Since much of what I do, as a pastor, is to work with my head I find a lot of joy working with my hands.
  • I call it “channeling my inner Jesus.”
  • He was a carpenter after all!
  • I recently purchased a Delta thickness planer off Craigslist.
  • I ran quite a bit of 100+ year old heart pine through it Saturday afternoon.
  • My plan is to use it to build a desk for our home office.
  • I have been wanting to do this for quite a while so I’m pumped to get started.
  • Be sure to check my Instagram feed for pics of the build.
  • At North River Church, we have been working through the book of Philippians.
  • It is one of my favorite books of the Bible and I have loved preaching through this letter.
  • I’m challenged by Paul’s pastoral heart for that group of believers in Philippi.
  • As I read, I have often prayed, “God, help me love the people at NRC like that!”
  • I started a podcast with 2 other pastor friends.
  • If you are up for listening you can follow this link.
  • Well, I need to get back after it…
  • Happy Monday friends!