Monthly Archives: September 2013

When I am the Dictator of the SBC, part 2

   I am not the dictator of the Southern Baptist Convention… yet.  But, in preparation for that eventuality, I have additional mandates which will be observed during my dictatorship of the SBC.

   First, Continue reading

When I Become the Dictator of the Southern Baptist Convention

Don’t worry, there is no imminent coup- and I would hope we would all aspire to something better. But, should I become the dictator of our beloved SBC, there are a few changes I will immediately install.
First, Continue reading

Consistency (in praise of)

   Our church just started a new sermon series called “Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith”.  We are using the devotional book I wrote by the same title in conjunction with it.  The idea is to read a devotional each day for 40 days and the 2 chapters of the bible each day as it suggests.  By the end of the 40 days we will have read the books of John, Acts and Proverbs.

   Christians often look for a mountaintop experience- and I like mountaintops.  But less often do believers buckle down to the harder work of consistent bible study, prayer and reflection.  May I put in a good word for consistency?

   There is something beneficial in a steady, long walk with God.  Wonderful experiences are, well, wonderful.  Emotional experiences have some merit.  But a consistent walk day by day is not to be overlooked or discounted.  In fact, I suggest that some of the greatest gains of discipleship are made in the consistency of a devotional life each day.

   Feelings come and go; rise and fall.  Emotional responses can be worked up or worked out.  But a consistent walk with the Lord will get you somewhere.  It will get you closer, deeper and stronger. 

  And that is a good destination.

Small Groups or Bust! 3 Reasons Small Groups Matter in Church Life

   I make a big deal out of small groups (we call our Sunday School classes LIFE groups) at FBC O’Fallon, IL.  Why would I even care since I’m not preaching in those classes?  (Insert your own sermon joke punch line.)  Here are 3 important reasons why Christians should be in a small group in their church. 

1.  For Connection.  People are like legos- made for connection.  Small groups allow people to get connected on more personal levels.  You need that connection- even you computer nerds who are socially awkward!  And, more importantly, other people need you.  Small groups allow us to know each other’s names and favorite ice cream flavors.

2.  For Information.  I don’t let people ask questions during the sermon.  I probably wouldn’t know the answer anyway!  But discussions can happen in small groups.  We can sharpen each other and think together.  It is a great way to learn and study and grow.  Attend a small group bible study long enough and you will probably know much more about the bible than you do now.  And that is a good thing.

3.  For inspiration.  Okay, I can’t relate to the pastor.  He’s kind of weird anyway.  But I can sure relate to that guy in the class who is struggling to live out his faith in a hostile work environment.  I can relate to the lady who wants to shine the light of Christ in her life even though she has a suspicious spot on the x-ray.  Those people inspire me- and I hope I can inspire them! 

   I love small groups enough that Vickie and I are going to teach a LIFE group on Saturday nights for the 7 weeks  our church goes through the “Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith” study beginning this weekend- even though I already preach my sermon 4 times each weekend. 

   Small groups or bust!


When Shallow Christianity Doesn’t Satisfy

   I’m all for people being babies- when they are actually babies!  But it isn’t as attractive when big boys act like babies. 

   I’m all for Christians being immature.  But if they are still immature after years of faith we have a problem.

   The example I use is the kiddie pool and the high dive.  Permit a brief quote from the introduction of my devotional book “Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith”. 

   “I still remember my first time jumping off the high dive.

   In the summertime I spent a lot of afternoons at the community pool in my small towns.  Most of my time was spent in the shallow end, splashing and playing with my bothers and friends.  I watched other kids jumping off the diving boards at the deep end of the pool.  It seemed fun and exciting, but too scary for me.

   As the summer progressed, I thought more and more about what it would be like to overcome my fears and worries and plunge into the deep, blue water of the deep end.  I even walked by that area of the pool a few times to calculate the possibilities.  The deep water was so inviting, yet I was so frightened to plunge in…”

  Okay, you can get the book to read the rest.  But suffice it to say that God made us to swim in the deep water of faith.

   Shallow Christianity will never fully satisfy because we long for the deeper faith of spiritual growth.  We need the meat instead of the milk.  We want the diving board instead of the kiddie pool.

   Come on in.  The water is fine!