Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lenten Season Begins!

As we approach the coming celebration of the highest holiday in Christianity, Resurrection Sunday/Easter/Paschal, we prepare ourselves by spending 40 days in preparation both individually and corporately for celebrating the defeat of the Curse. Individually many people choose to forsake something of worth as an act of sacrifice and fasting, and corporately many churches are teaching series based on the Passion of Christ. For example, we are taking our students through a biblical look at Jesus as the Lamb of God as seen throughout Scripture. Tonight we start with the provision of a sacrifice in Eden for the sin of Adam and Eve and the future-looking promise that one day a sacrifice was coming that would defeat the Serpent and reverse the curse God had placed on the earth.

A thought for meditation today comes from the hymn "The Church's One Foundation"

The Church's one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation
By water and the Word:
From heav'n He came and sought her
To be His holy Bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

'Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly,
In love may dwell with Thee.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eat Drink and Be Merry...

Happy Fat Tuesday all! Today is the day that people "get it out of their system" before the observation of Lent as a preparation for the Paschal/Easter season. It is a day that New Orleans and other cities will become so drunk and stuffed that they wake up tomorrow looking forward to giving up something for 40 days. Truth be told, one time I did a 30 Hour fast in high school and we went to Gattiland before to stuff ourselves full of pizza, suicides, and breadsticks in order to get through the "eternal" time between meals we would have to endure. So I have no room to talk when I talk about the sanctity of a fast for the Lord.

Anyway, that said, I hope and pray many of you are considering walking away from something that is causing tension or difficulty in your faith walk, and giving it up for the Lenten season as an act of worship and sacrifice unto the Lord.

Tomorrow begins my voluntary withdrawal from Facebook and soft drinks, so I am sitting here at my desk enjoying a Coke Zero and Friend Updates for the last few hours before I walk away from them in order to devote myself to prayer, meditation, Scripture study, and personal piety. Buckle up, here we go!

Monday, February 23, 2009

My arms still hurt!

Friday we went back up to Kentucky for a couple days and while we were there Carrie and I helped her parents with the cleanup task in the wake of Ice Storm 2009. Seeing the pictures gave us an idea of the extent of the destruction, but it paled in comparison to what we felt and saw when we got to the Jackson Purchase area (the part of KY hit hardest). It reminded me of the scene in Band of Brothers when they are in the Bastogne woods after the German bombardment with trees down everywhere, snapped in two, and debris everywhere.

The morning started with a hefty breakfast of pancakes, coffee and bacon (which I believe I ate my body weight in). We got going around 8:30 with gathering limbs and burning them in what had to be the biggest bonfire this city boy had ever been around. A couple hours in, I began to hurt in places that have never hurt before, and muscles were aching that I didn't know I had. Carrie and her mom did a wonderful job gathering pine needles, small limbs and sticks, and giving us encouragement as we took trailer load after trailer load of timber to the fire.

By the end of the day we carried... well I lost count... trailers of debris and the property began to take on a sense of normalcy despite the damaged trees. It was a pleasure and honor for us to be able to come alongside them and work. It was hard and demanding work, but far more satisfaction and joy in knowing that we were able to be a blessing to them!

The casualty count for the day
Scott - One nasty scratch across my back, burn holes in my shirt from sparks, a sore back and shoulders
Carrie - Trembling hands from having to hold a rake tightly all day, a sore back from constant scooping and bending

Let's just say that night we had no problems resting :)

Some Disciple Now Thoughts

We had a great time with Disciple Now 2009 with our youth, talking about the issue of purity and in particular going with a "True Love Waits" theme. Special thanks to Scott Yackel and Cary Beth Duffel for giving up their weekends to invest in the students as small group leaders. Also, props to Will Cranford for leading worship, Casey Frye for being a very needed help. And lastly thanks to the lovely Mrs. Douglas for all her work and encouragement through the weekend.

The format was different from what was normal for the church, going to a small groups model where our students were able to dialogue and discuss issues with their leader in the comfort of a host home. Thankfully we were able to have good discussion with very sensitive and relevant issues that are very different from the high school world I came from.

The highlight of the weekend for me personally was our "Late Night" worship session at the home of some youth parents. By late night I mean 10 PM, know that's not late for most of you but when you regularly get up at 4:30 in the morning, anything past 9:30 is pushing twilight hours! It was awesome to see our students in a relaxed, "non-church" atmosphere praising the Lord with their voices. I hope it was as significant for them as it was for me.

I do pray that the cards signed, the commitments made, and the lessons learned from the weekend will translate into a renewed mind and dedication to living a life saturated by Christ.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Would like to thank all of you who gave such good feedback and encouragement after preaching this Sunday! It is a pleasure, an honor, and a deeply serious task to expound the Word to God's people, and I appreciated your prayers and support.

Sorry we went a bit long in the second service, not going to lie it comes from my Puritan influences. I should have done the A-Rod and said that my cousin who will be unnamed said it was a good idea, but like A-Rod that would be a lie. Forgive me as an eager young minister who thinks everyone else in the world cares as much about Puritan-like preaching as I do :) Looking forward to doing it again sometime!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Go Carrie Beth!!!

Just found out my wife passed her PhD comprehensive exams!! So proud of her for all her hard work on it!
Congrats to her, Julia, and the rest of the "Impostors" who passed! You did it!

Defending Christian Blogging

This entry is not intended to be a gossip or divisive entry, let me first make that perfectly clear. The purpose of writing this is in response to comments made during a service I attended at the church I am on staff at. During the service, a comment was made by a guest preacher that Christian blogging is the newest form of gossip and backbiting, and that it is something that Christians should avoid. I heard some of our students respond to that, and knowing that I try to regularly post blog entries, felt burdened to respond to that statement. This entry is public, but it is directed to those in attendance that night, and for those in the Broadmoor family.

I had to examine what was said for what it was worth in the context. There are many different kinds of blogs online. Some are silly, some are serious, and any mix in the middle. When it comes to blogging done by Christians, there are devotional blogs, commentaries, distribution of information, insight from Bible study, and sadly there are also blogs which are used to destroy churches and pastors. The last kind is what I will address first.

I treat blog entries that are divisive and disruptive and slanderous the same way I treat the dreaded "anonymous letter." I discard them and do not even give them a passing glance. Anyone who is not adult enough to sign their name to something they have written, or who pass it on in an email, is not worth the time or stress to worry about what they have spoken. They have chosen the coward's way, and I will not even give what they have to say any attention. The same goes for blogs whose purpose and content is to slander a church, a pastor, or to spread rumors and gossip. Matthew 18 at NO point ever allows for any such foolishness or cowardice to be employed within the church. There is a church here in Memphis that has been rocked and disrupted by unruly members among the congregation who have used the anonymity and comfort of the Internet to slander and divide the church. What they are saying may be true, but regardless of that I consider these people to be unregenerate and they should be brought up for church discipline and publicly called to answer for their sin. The same goes for ANYONE who uses their blog to divide the Church of Jesus Christ or to attack His appointed leadership in the congregation. Matthew 18 declares that you are to go to the person who has wronged you or the believer in error, not to attack them from behind on the Internet. I am sickened by what I see online from people who call themselves Christians, and I would dare to say that this is conduct unbecoming of a born-again believer. If you are reading this and involved in such a blog, stop immediately, repent, and apologize to those whom you have slandered. Restoration is the goal of confrontation, not ruining reputation and character assassination.

With that said, I give a hearty "amen" to those who say that this type of blogging has no place within the Church. I cannot however, say that in all forms all blogging is divisive and disruptive. Many times, blogs are used to share great Truths, and as a way of communicating en mass to people. Some great blogs are out there, and I subscribe to many of them. It is a blessing and encouragement to read what great Christian thinkers and leaders have to say about the issues that we face in an increasingly post-Christian society, and how we as Gospel ministers and Christians must respond to these new challenges. The speed at which information travels now is amazing, and the power of the Internet to be used for good is amazing. We are able to receive information and news as soon as it happens, instead of hours or days later! Praise the Lord for His grace in giving us this amazing technology. We ought be good stewards of it, and not abuse it for personal gain or selfish ambition.

As Christians, we have the delicate and serious task of carrying the Gospel to all people in the world, by our word and action. Let us not slander the name of Christ and His Gospel by resorting to childish and cowardly tactics. Let us as Christians stand above the crowd, and let us use this awesome treasure to His Glory and Renown in all the world.