Top 10 Things I am Thankful for:

1.  Salvation

2.  Robin/Wife

3.  Caleb

4.  Andrew

5.  Laura

6.  Joshua

7.  Lydia

8.  The soon to be named Waddey # 6!

9.  Being called and able to preach at Cottage Grove Baptist Church

10.  and last but not least. . . I am thankful for football on Thanksgiving day!

Oh yeah, I know this doesn’t rise to the level of new babies, but I can’t leave out Coffee on this list.

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Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 4:39 pm  Comments (2)  

LifeWay / Small Church Study

The effectiveness of local church ministry often is jeopardized by poor organization,” said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research. “Understanding God’s calling and the context of the church is important, but leadership requires knowing where you are, knowing where you need to go and knowing how to get there. Most small church pastors actively pursue the first two but many struggle with the third.”

I think LIfeWay has hit the mark with this small church study.  The small church has organizational issues because it has leadership issues.  Should the blame be placed on the pastor, the deacons, or the general structure of the small church?  I blame all of the above.  There is plenty of blame to go around for the small  church’s inability to maintain focus and organization. 

If small/rural churches are going to be effective they must be organized enough to honor their rich heritage while looking forward to a hope filled future.  The honest small church agrees on thier context and current condition.  Once a church knows where they are, the effective church mobilizes (organizes) around a biblical vision for the future. 

Follow the link below to Ed Stetzer’s blog to see the full study:

http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/edstetzer/2008/11/small-church-research-1.html

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 4:08 pm  Comments (5)  

Go get a box of Kleenex and watch this

http://www.rhchurch.org/pages/cardboard-testimonies/

Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm  Comments (1)  

Extraordinary

Extraordinary is the only term that I can use to describe this years Tennessee Baptist Convention.  Extraordinary because of the unified spirit that dominated the gathering.  The delegates were led, I believe, by the Spirit of God as we forged ahead with a new partnership in Africa, a new evangelism push, and a new budget.  We were refreshed by the work that our Children’s homes, Adult homes, Foundations, Universities, schools, and medical facilities were accomplishing.  We were unified in prayer around our search for the next Executive Director/Treasurer.  It was a fantastic convention because we were focused on ministry and missions.  I will post some pictures from our rural church booth later.  For now I just want to thank the Lord for the extraordinary way He led our convention these last three days.

Extraordinary unification.  Feels good for a change.

Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 4:33 am  Comments Off on Extraordinary  

Ministry on Election Day

What do left wing voters and right wing voters all need?  What is it that Democrats and Republicans must have on election day?  They all need a place to vote.  Cottage Grove does not have an abundance of large buildings that have wheel chair access. . . but we just built a big one.  Tuesday was our chance to offer our building to the community simply b/c it was the right thing to do.  Rural churches must serve their communities.  We constantly have to search for ways to connect with people who have learned to see us as a dying institution.  We have to allow people to see us as servants.  Opening our fellowship hall for voting is just one way to do that:   election-290

I was hoping to make Cottage Grove the center of the Media Universe by producing a bunch of hanging chads . . . but these machines were way to well guarded.

election-291

Turns out that the voting machines were guarded by this guy.  My sources tell me that he is a very dangerous operative of the Cottage Grove Mafia.election-292

Published in: on November 6, 2008 at 4:44 am  Comments (5)  

Great Day

This is my oldest daughter.  She has an understanding of salvation that few adults can fathom and that most can not articulate.  She has been contemplating her decision to follow Christ for over a year.  Her probing questions about the Lord’s supper, Baptism, and about the Cross finally culminated in a deep understanding of the Gospel.  I thank God continually for family, friends, and our church members who have encouraged her, answered her questions, and have reinforced what she has been learning at home.    

Published in: on November 3, 2008 at 3:37 pm  Comments (4)