Front row seat

I love having a front row seat.  I once had a front row seat to see Third Day in concert.  AWESOME!  One of the greatest moments of my life came when my wife and I sat 3 rows from the dug out at a St. Louis Cardinal game.  You’re up close and personal with the artist on the front row.  When you sit close to the action at a baseball game you feel like you are almost a part of it.  Seeing everything in perfect clarity from the front is a wonderful thing. . . . most of the time.  If you are going to be that close to the action you have to keep you head up and pay attention.  Foul balls can come off of a bat in a hurry.  That foul ball combined with your proximity to the game could mean injury or death for you.

Pastors have front row seats for the events that happen in the lives of their congregations.  This can be a very sad part of the ministry.  Most people never understand the burden that living on the front row of church members lives places on the pastor.  It is a view of life that most people will never see or understand.  Pastors get to be on the front row to see the unraveling of marriages.  Pastors get to be on the front row of the addict’s life as he looses his children and wife.  Pastors are on the front row to watch as teenagers make horrible mistakes that affect their entire lives.  Pastors are on the front row in the hospital as a wife looses her husband.  Pastors see from the front, what our welfare state has done to the character and integrity of people.  Pastors are on the front row as the young woman recounts how having an abortion has left her with nothing but guilt and shame.  Pastors are on the front row when one church member tears the church apart over hatred of another church member.  The front row has consequences.

Conversely, the pastor also gets to see some pretty cool things from the front row.  We sometimes get to see the healing of marriages.  We sometimes get to see the addict repent and go on to lead a productive life.  We sometimes get to see those teenagers make godly decisions that impact other teenagers positively.  We are there, cheering from the front row, when a Christian leaves this world for his reward.   We are on the front row when a woman, who has made a poor decision, decides to give the baby growing inside her a chance through adoption.  Pastors cheer from the front as a kid, who grew up in the welfare system, graduates college.  Pastors are there, rejoicing, when feuding church members reconcile and revival is the result.

Take the good, the bad, and the ugly and I would rather duck a few foul balls from the front than never see the game from the back.  Give me the front row!

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm  Comments (3)  

The Association and the Small Church

What an honor it is to cooperate with over 30 Baptist Churches in the Western District Baptist Association.  Our annual meeting was held last week.  What an incredible blessing it was to hear how God was using our cooperative program to do missions here, in Tennessee, and around the world.  It is a wonderful thing to fellowship with one another during these meetings as we share our burdens and victories.

The small church’s relationship with its local baptist Association can be a tremendous aid.  My church in cooperation with your church = more resources to carry out the Great Commission.  For 150 years Cottage Grove Baptist Church has maintained a winning partnership with our local Baptist Association.  It was good 150 years ago and it is even better today.

Published in: on October 27, 2008 at 12:27 pm  Comments Off on The Association and the Small Church  

Saved

I just wanted to share with all of you some fantastic news.  Yesterday my precious eldest girl was saved by grace as she placed her faith in Christ.

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 3:30 am  Comments (5)  

Revival begins through broken hearts

Our church is holding a series of meetings this week.  At the end of the week I am praying that we can say that our “meetings” turned into revival.  Lester Morelock, our evangelist, for the week said something last night that caused me great unrest all night.  He said that over 4,430 people die and go to hell every hour.  His number is based on statistics that tell us if people go to church and what religion they claim as their own.  His point: Brokenness over the lost leads to revival for believers.  I think Lester is right.

I don’t know if 4,430 people go to hell every hour.  I’m not smart enough to check Lester’s numbers but I lost sleep last night with this thought.  What if that number is 3000 per hour?  What if we reduce it to 1000?  What if it were just one person per hour?  Is the thought of one person spending an eternity in Hell enough to break our hearts?  If we are not broken over one person we will not be broken over 4,430.  The number is inconsequential.  What matters is that we just don’t care.  One is too many.

By the way. . . if you want to hear Lester preach, here is the link to his church’s web site.  Lester is the pastor of a very healthy rural church.

http://www.newvictorybaptist.org/

Published in: on October 6, 2008 at 11:41 am  Comments Off on Revival begins through broken hearts