Saturday, April 30, 2011


My six year old daughter (who has not yet been baptized) asked me about baptism the other day.  I did my best to explain it to her and let her know that I would be glad to baptize her whenever she is ready.

A couple of days later my wife was giving her a bath and she asked my wife if she would baptize her in the bathtub.

Either I did not explain it well or she was not listening well.

I can live with it becase I can think of three things that are more important for her to realize:
1. God loves her
2. Jesus died for her and was resurrected to set her free and give her victory
3. The Holy Spirit is always with her

To me, in her spiritual life those three things are more important than baptism. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not our Future

The youth are not our future.  Paul didn't write that we are the body of Christ once we graduate high school. 

To say that our youth are only the future is to take away their purpose now.  They are not just our future.  The church needs our youth now.  Here's a few things they offer that I believe the church today is in desperate need of:

- authenticity
- energy
- passion
- new ideas
- technological savvy
- emotional spirituality
(yes this can be a detriment too, but balanced with Biblical truth it is desperately needed in our churches)
- stories of hope and victory
- curiosity

Let us never limit our youth to only being useful for the kingdom of God in our future.  They can be used now.  God has a purpose for each of us, no matter how old or young we are.

This is why I'm excited about our youth leading our services this Sunday.  I think they are going to create an experience that draws us closer to God's purpose for each of our lives.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


It's been a busy week.  I'm worn out and I know I'm going to sleep well tonight.  And even though I'm worn out, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  Here's what my last four days consisted of:

The ecumenical Wednesday night Bible study over the past three weeks has been excellent.

The Maundy Thursday service our youth led is on Thursday evening was meaningful.

The Good Friday service at Mt. Sinai Baptist was energetic.
The Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday was fun and served as an excellent outreach opportunity.

The son-rise service early this morning with Derek Jones from Catawba Baptist preaching and a delicious breakfast to follow.

All topped off by an Easter service that reminded us that Jesus' resurrection means that we will attend Death's funeral.

In the middle of all these services I was working with our web designer on the content for our website.  It's finally up!  Check it out at!

I would do it all again but at the same time I'm glad it's over.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Website

Our church has a new website! 

The site is 

While the general form and function will be the same, there's still a few things to add to it: a facebook link, the monthly Newsletter, staff pictures, a few more ministries and possibly the current sermon series.

It sure is nice to have another web presence (besides Facebook).

Let me know what you think of the site in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pressure at Easter

The week leading up to Easter is a busy time for Pastors.  There are usually extra services/events to attend or lead (Bible studies, Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, Easter sunrise service).  Also, it is normal for Pastor's feel pressure to offer something of significance in every sermon they preach.  At Easter, that pressure is amped up. 

I meet with a group of other younger pastors periodically and most of them have more experience preaching than I do. 

Recently, several of them confessed that they used to think Easter Sunday was a time to push themselves to create a worship service and a sermon that would "top" everything else they had done.  After feeling that way for several years, they concluded that the pressure and anxiety wasn't worth it.  And this year most of them have made a concerted effort not to put that kind of pressure on themselves.

It's one of those things that's easier said than done.  I'm trying to make a concerted effort not to put anymore pressure on myself this Easter Sunday than I normally do.  At the same time, this is my first Easter Sunday as a lead pastor and it is my first Easter sermon.   

I want to enjoy Easter and not put pressure on myself to "perform."  Since this is my first time leading the Easter Sunday service I can see that it might be difficult for me to do that.  I just hope I can take the wisdom of those who have been there and apply it my situation instead of learning the hard way.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ecumenical Bible Study

For the three Wednesday evenings leading up to Easter our church has been a part of an ecumenical Bible study with two other churches.

Mt. Sinai Baptist hosted last Wednesday with their pastor Donald Gray leading the study. 

Catawba UMC hosted last night with me leading the study.

Next Wednesday Catawba Baptist will host and their pastor Derek Jones will lead the study.

It's been an excellent way to promote unity among beleivers of different churches around Easter time.

Also, we are having a joint Good Friday service at Mt. Sinai Baptist and pastor Derek Jones is preaching the sunrise service at Catawba UMC. 

If there's ever a time when churches can unite around something, it's Easter.  Because we can all agree that through the death and resurrection of Christ sins are forgiven, freedom is available and the victory over sin, evil and death is won.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Serve

We had our first First Serve ministry this past Saturday.  We estimate that about seventy people showed up to serve the church or community in some way.  

We fed homeless people by preparing, delivering and handing out bag lunches to people at the Corner Table in Newton.  We met our Adopt-a-Street obligation and picked up trash on the side of the road.  We made repairs and upgrades to our playground (specifically for the Easter Egg Hunt coming up).  And we prepared and delivered flowers to a nursing home and brighted up the day for some of the residents there.

It was a good Saturday morning topped off by a visit for the rest of the day with friends we haven't seen in a while.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A New Favorite

I have a new favorite blog.  Okay, so it isn't my absolutely favorite blog, but it is definitely among my favorites, so much so that I have added to the "Blogs I Like" link to the left of this.

It's Greg Boyd's blog and you can find it here.  I love his theology and his heart.  He's first and foremost a pastor, yet, has the skills of a theologian that can hold his own with the best of them.

Of particular interest to me was his recent review of Rob Bell's book Love Wins.  I haven't read the book yet, I'm still getting through Bonhoeffer's biography.  I've almost finished it and would highly recommend it and I'm excited to say that Love Wins is next on my list. 

Another thing I like about Greg Boyd is his Christus Victor theology of the atonement (i.e. what Christ accomplished on the cross).  It's been especially on my mind this time of year (Easter).  For his explanation, click here.  I agree with him that on the cross, more than anything else and along side other theories (especially substitutionary atonement), Jesus was victorious over sin, evil and death (and everything that entails, i.e. sickness, addictions, greed, lust, etc.) so that those of us who are "in Christ" can have that victory as well, not because of anything we've done, but because of what Christ (through the Father's will and through the Holy Spirit's power) has done.

It's good stuff!

Anyway, check out Greg Boyd's writing and reviews...I think you will be blessed if you do.