Category Archives: Church

Heroes Remembered: John Mason Peck

Harvard University does not single out many Baptist preachers for honorary degrees.  But in 1852, they did such for a Baptist preacher and missionary named John Mason Peck. Let me tell you a little of the story of this fascinating man in the hopes that his life will inspire you to leave a similar legacy and impact.

John Mason Peck (1789-1858) lived in Connecticut and New York state in his early years. He heard the message of the gospel and was saved while young. Personal study of the bible led him to leave the Congregationalist church over the issue of infant baptism and become a Baptist– despite the arguments of his pastor, Lyman Beecher.

Peck grew deeply in his faith and felt a call to preach. Time spent with Luther Rice led him to a deep interest in missionary work “out west”. So Peck loaded Continue reading

When Your Grandchild Gets Baptized

Few things move a man emotionally like grandchildren. We do things for those little rascals that we never thought of doing with our own children. “Oh, you want a cookie before supper? Sure, have two!” And few things can move a Christian man more than the salvation of those little tykes.

Our oldest grandson is 7 1/2 years old. (The day comes soon enough when we stop counting those half years.) I started praying for him (and the rest of the grands) before he was ever born. I prayed that he would come to know the Lord as his Savior and that he would follow him as Lord. I’ve been burdened to pray for this oldest one especially for the last few months.

To our great joy, he recently Continue reading

The Greatest Danger

Perhaps the greatest danger for many Christians, churches and ministries is something other than gross immorality or theological liberalism or direct rebellion against the plans of God. Dangerous as these things are, the greatest danger for many followers of Christ is something more insidious. This danger is subtle. It is not so easily recognized. But it just as deadly. This terrible danger is apathy.

Apathy (and her cohort, procrastination) is the Continue reading

Learning from the Past

Our church just recognized our sesquicentennial. That is a dandy of a word that means we were formed 150 years ago. By the standards of Europe it isn’t so much, but Illinois isn’t Europe. So, a sesquicentennial (that really is a dandy of a word!) is not as common here.

150 years ago, First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, IL was formed at what was then just a small railroad stop. Over the years we have had some ups and downs. The church nearly closed in 1973. But for the last 40 plus years the church has grown steadily and has become a rather large congregation.

We aren’t perfect as we are made up of people. We have had imperfect leaders as they, too, have been people. But God has had his hand on this congregation and has blessed the church in ways that are difficult to explain apart from God.

Since I’ve been more immersed in our history than usual, I want to reflect on some lessons we have learned Continue reading

Why I Have a Patriotic Worship Service

I posted this article last winter but wanted to re-post it for this season. Hope you have a great 4th of July holiday!

 

I love the patriotic worship service our church has each 4th of July Sunday. I would not have thought that to be a controversial statement a few years ago but some theologs suggest this to be a bad thing. I hear them out, but disagree. In fact, some seem to have a wrong idea about what goes on at these events. So, right in the dead of winter, when picnics seem distant, let me suggest some food for thought (that picnic thing got me food focused).

What we don’t do.

We don’t worship our country. We have only Continue reading

When Easter is Over

Our churches are never fully defined by our biggest Sundays or our smallest.

As a pastor, I love Easter Sunday. I love the large number of guests, those who haven’t been in a long time and the spiritually curious. We had our biggest attendance ever this past Sunday with 2,551 people. It is exciting to preach the message of the gospel to lots of people. There is an energy that comes with the large crowd.

I do know, of course, that not every Sunday has Continue reading

Race and the Jesus Agenda

Few things are more difficult to have an honest conversation about than issues of race. This issue continues to divide and befuddle and frustrate our nation and even our churches. When I was a young man (my wife tells me I’m still young but her eyesight isn’t what it used to be) I thought racial reconciliation and unity would be far better by this point.

I’ve gone to some meetings about racial reconciliation and have come out of those times with this thought. The Continue reading