Wednesday, October 14, 2009
But, in the midst of all the excitement of preparing for a new life we also experience the grief of loss. Earlier this week Becca's "Gran" passed away. Recently, we had the privilege of celebrating her 92nd birthday at the Cracker Barrell! In Gran's last days she had a beautiful blanket made for Nadia. We got to see her one last time on Sunday and in a very sweet moment she took Becca's hands and voiced a wonderful prayer for Nadia's arrival and that she would grow strong and have a great and bountiful life. Every time someone new would walk in to her room she would ask, "Is Nadia here yet?" Not that she would get to see her but, it was as if Gran was waiting for her arrival. Gran had lived a wonderful long life. She was tired and ready to see Jesus and Pappy. Right to the very end Gran was calling the shots. Her daughters and other family members were around this week, but she waited until she was alone to breathe her last. To the very end she was protecting her girls. Gran you are a special woman and you will be missed by all.
At Deacon's meeting this week Beth Mobley, who has recently lost her mother said, "Death is just as much a part of life as birth." How true that is. We will cherish the early moments that we have with our precious Nadia just as we cherish the last moments we had with Gran. My prayer for you and for us is that we will also cherish all the moments in between.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I don't want to give anything away in regards to this movie. I will say that this movie fits well with what we have been talking about all year. Slumdog is rated "R." I would say the rating is for slight language, violence, and suggestive themes. Becca, Greg, Zihna, and I went to see this movie together. All of us agree that it is very well done. It is definitely not a "feel-good" movie. You don't walk out with a warm fuzzy feeling. During the movie you are lead into the slums of Mumbai by two brothers and an unlikely female companion. The story follows their life from a very young age through the pitfalls of slum life. At times it is difficult to watch what these children have to live through. The movie is based on the book "Q&A" by Vikas Swarup.
The question remains, what do we do now? I wonder what the producers of the movie will do about the situations they filmed. Will proceeds from the movie go to lift some of these children and families out of poverty, slavery, and the sex trade? As we can only control our own actions perhaps a better question would be what are we going to do now as a result of our study this year and having seen this movie? This Fall our church will enter a stewardship campaign focused on Justice and Faith and how the two are intertwined. It has been asked why are we focusing so much on social justice issues (presumably at the expense of the "Jesus stuff"). My simple answer to that question is social justice is the Jesus stuff! The longer answer would fill more pages than I care to here, but it would involve the many scriptures from the Prophets, Psalms, the Gospels, and the Book of James that point us in the direction of taking care of those that God cares about, the brokenhearted, the orphans, and the widows, etc.
Join us this Wednesday night as we begin the process of sponsoring children through Compassion International. Flood Begins at 6:00 with a snack supper and 6:30 for the worship experience. Pressing on! Andy
Saturday, February 28, 2009
White said he would be willing to help "personally" in such a situation, but not as an official representative of the GBC.
She told church members that the GBC representatives explained that a formal "withdrawal of fellowship" would mean that the church could not recieve materials or services from the GBC such as training in VBS, Sunday School, or Evangelism.
"Not Sure I'd heard correctly, I pressed a little. Do you mean that if I called you up one day and said--'The Spirit is doing something amazing at First Baptist Decatur! Waves of men, women, and teenagers are responding to God and are being baptized and we could use some additional help in giving them a good foundation. Could you send a team over to meet with our folks?'--Are you telling me that the GBC wouldn't want to help us with that?"
Then from her article she encourages her congregation against "missing the point."
Just as Pennington-Russell encourages her congregation let me encourage ours not to "miss the point." As Christians and as FBC Augusta we should plan ministries with all integrity for the benefit of our community and especially those that are not within our fellowship. It is by focusing outward that our community will know that we are people of faith that will accept them where they are, as they are, but like our Lord Jesus Christ will love them to much to leave them there. Gone are the days of the Country Club, "serve me" mentality. Let us continue to be a church on mission and with a mission to "Love the Lord our God and share his love with our community and world."
'[Denominationalism] is largely missing the point. The denominational leaders in my office that day love people and care deeply about the gospel--I'm certain about that. But the sad reality is, most denominational organizations are stuck in bureaucratic systems that have forgotten why they exist in the first place.' She said the congregation must be on guard against "missing the point" as well. 'May God save us from the deadly notion that this church exists to provide goods and services for eligible "members." We exist to follow Jesus into gospel adventures of all kinds in collaboration with all God's people, whatever their denominational preferences or doctrinal stances.'
Thanks to John Pierce and his article in Baptist Today (March 2009, p. 12)
Friday, February 20, 2009
There is a saying that goes around ministerial circles that is attributed to Karl Barth (pronounced Bart), “preachers should approach the world with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.” What does that mean to you? This year we have been looking at the problems around the globe (newspaper) and determining what to do in light of them by looking at what the Bible says. My current “newspaper” is Time magazine. What’s yours? How are you staying connected with the world? In light of the scriptures what are you doing to make an impact on this world?
Friday, January 30, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
After taking these pictures I wish I had gone out with my camera sooner! Earlier today it was snowing much harder than what is pictured here. Obviously, nothing stuck to the ground where we are but it was certainly pretty to look at. Right outside my office window is the preschool playground. It was quite a joy this morning to see the children playing in the falling snow. I bet some of them had never seen snow before. Although it was cold they were all having a wonderful time. Do you remember your first snowfall? Do you remember your favorite snowfall? I don't remember my first snowfall, but I do remember my favorite. I was in elementary school. To the best of my knowledge it may have been the only time we had for real snow in Athens while I lived there. We had sleet several times but rarely actual snow. This time we had a good three or four inches. My sister and I went down the street and joined in a neighborhood snowball fight with people who were merely acquaintences. There is something about the snow that can knock down barriers. We had the best time getting soaking wet and cold. After the fight we rolled a snowman up in our yard. I only wish I had raked the yard before the snow fell! We had a pretty trashy looking snowman with all the leaves and pine straw. Leave a comment with your favorite snow story and let's relive childhood together!
Friday, January 16, 2009
How many times have you found yourself on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night for that matter looking at your watch and praying just this once that the minute hand would move a little, okay a lot faster? Don't be ashamed; we've all done it. In preparation for next Wednesday's message I was reading through Nehemiah 5-8. In these chapters we read about the completion of the wall and the gathering of the people back to Jerusalem after the exile. As a part of this gathering Nehemiah had Ezra bring the Book of the Law to be read to the people. He did this so the people who had been scattered about for generations would be reminded of their heritage and the laws that they are to follow. Chapter 8 of Nehemiah tells us that Ezra read from the Book of the Law from daybreak until noon. And what is more? The people were standing the whole time out of reverence for the Law! Not only did they listen to the Law being read for 5 or 6 hours while they were standing, but they were convicted. We continue reading in Nehemiah that Nehemiah, Ezra, and Levites who were teaching the people from the Law and interpreting what it meant had to chide the people not to weep and mourn. They reminded them that this was a great day in the Lord, "Be Still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."
Then, the next day they came back and did it all over again. But, this time they read about the festival of booths. The people went and gathered branches with which to make their booths. They proclaimed among the hillsides that they were celebrating a festival in Jerusalem. During the festival the people of Jerusalem lived in their booths as a reminder of the 40 years that Israel spent in the desert with Moses. They festival lasted for eight days. For every one of those days the people gathered to hear from the Book of the Law. This is an example of a people being rejuvinated for the Lord. Since the time of Joshua son of Nun (Moses successor) the festival had not been celebrated like this. The people are glad to be back in the homeland and able to celebrate the festival the way it was intended. That's one long sermon that turned into one great revival!
I pray that as these uncertain economic times have befallen us we may turn back to the Book just like the people of Jerusalem did. May we read the word with fresh eyes. This is our time to realize some of the things that we have neglected. Let us not circle the wagons and take care of our own. Rather let us be reminded that we are to be the Light in this dark world. May we recognize those who are hurting around us. As Allen Walworth reminded us, now is the time for the church to "be about my Father's business." It is during these times that we, God's people, should be reminded of God's provision for us, be reminded that all we have is not our own, and be reminded that we should hold loosely those things we have always being ready to let it go as God sees fit. May this word challenge your heart as we seek together to Do Hard Things...