This morning we begin a new ministry at Macedonia Baptist Church in Oxford, GA. It has been an incredible journey to get to this place and time. Macedonia is a church with a long history and an amazing future. So blessed to be part of what God is going to do and to serve with people who have a heart for reaching out to others.To paraphrase William Carey, we are expecting great things from God and are willing to attempt great things for Him!
There is an old gospel song that begins, “Home is where the heart is, my heart’s on home. “ Throughout my years of ministry, I have always tried to maintain my priorities in the right order – God, then family, then church. In the last few years members of my family have achieved milestones and experienced change. Even more will happen in our lives in the next couple of years. As a husband, father, son, and even son-in-law, it is my responsibility to assure their care and help them become the best persons they can become.
The second verse of that gospel song says, “Everybody dreams about going home it seems, lately I am no exception to the rule.” In recent days the actions, decisions, and expressed attitudes of some here at Calvary have caused my heart and mind to beginning looking back to the South and my home.
With all this in mind, and after prayerful consideration, I am offering my resignation as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. My last Sunday at Calvary will be July 20 followed by the remainder of my vacation days. I have accepted the invitation to become the pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Oxford, Georgia.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have been the pastor at Calvary. I appreciate all those who truly gave me freedom to provide care and leadership. I sincerely believe this decision is in the best interest of me, my family, the church in Georgia, and Calvary Baptist Church. Calvary will continue to be in my prayers in the months and years ahead.
I have not written anything new for my blog since October of last year. I would like to say there was deep and significant explanation for the gap. The truth is that I simply burned out. Now it is time to return to the discipline of writing. This time I hope to post three or four times a week on a variety of subjects and categories. To catch up, here are some of my observations for the last few months:
1) I am proud of my family. My daughter will graduate from college next Saturday. She completed her degree in just three years. She did this while working and covering most of her expenses. My son has become a very good baseball player for his high school's junior varsity team. He is a good teammate, but more importantly he is a good student. My wife has been teaching a three year old preschool class. She works hard to find creative ways to engage the children with limited resources available to her.
2) The Christian life is far more simple than we have made it. It comes down to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Love God. Love others. Serve God. Serve others. Share our story when we have the opportunity.
3) Reaping what we sow is a principle from which we cannot get away. Everyday on my way to and from the church I pass dozens of people who made the choice to do drugs. Now they are living with the consequences of that choice. My friends in Ukraine are endangered by Putin's decision to expand Russia's influence and territory and the choice of world leaders to do little to stop him.
4) God is in control. I may not see it. He may not work in the ways or in the time frame I would like. It is not my role to understand. It is my role to trust.
My wife and I
have two children. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of them. I love
when someone asks about them so I can start the bragging. I guess in reality
that makes me like most other parents. We all tend to enjoy talking about our
kids. And let’s not even talk about grandparents. They almost beg someone to
ask so they can whip out the pictures and start spinning the tales.
many reasons to be proud of our family members. But nothing they do can compare
to what Jesus has done for us. When we in a perilous condition. Jesus came and
rescued us. Every day He gifts us with His grace. We should be proud of Him. We
should want brag about Him. Actually, we should brag about Him.
The disciples of Jesus were committed. They left everything to follow Jesus. I know that is what made them disciples, but consider their circumstance. They did not have the Gospels so they could not read about Jesus and all He would do. They had no idea what was in front of them. They were invited and they responded. They were committed to following Jesus wherever the journey took them.
There are many Christians today. There are few disciples. How can I say that? Many people are willing to confess that Jesus is their Savior. They may even talk about Him being their Lord. However, their commitment is not where it needs to be. They are committed when it convenient - when Jesus is leading them where they want to go.
Jesus calls us to follow. He does not offer us the details. We must be willing to follow and then we discover what He has in store for us.
Yesterday we spent the day at
Yosemite National Park. It was a wonderful time with friends from Georgia. It
was also a wonderful time being fully aware of the majesty and power of God. We
stood on the edge of a cliff. We looked over a vast expanse. There was the
massive presence of Half Dome. There was the river running through the valley
beginning with the falls. The view was majesty. Then we looked down and there
on the ledge below was a tiny chipmunk. We watched him run back and forth
gathering seeds. In the background of that granite facade, a little creature
was enjoying God’s care. I am reminded that we are the beneficiaries of that
- Harriet Eugenia Peck Buell
| John Bunnell Sumner
We live in a fame and fortune world. While we are told that
everyone gets their five minutes of fame, the truth is that we want much more. We
have come to lavish our worship on those with athletic skill, business acumen,
acting abilities, or those who have just been labeled as important. We do more
than worship them. We long to be them. We want their power. We want their
influence. We want their wealth. If we cannot be them, some are willing to just
to identified with them.
God’s people need to remember who we are. First, we need to
remember what we were. We were alienated. We were outcasts. When Jesus became
our Savior, a change occurred. We were adopted into the family of God. He
became our Father. We became His sons and daughters. We should not worry about
being powerful or fabulously wealthy or lavished with recognition. We are
children of the King!
My days of serious athletics are over. I still like to play softball, throw a baseball with my son, or shoot some basketball. The competitive side of me misses those days. But then my mind goes back to the practices. I remember the laps run. I remember the line drills. I remember being so thirsty, that a small cup of water would bring instant refreshing. We could not wait for the coach to blow the whistle so we could run to the sidelines and get a drink.
Life gets tiring. Let's face it, it can become exhausting. We became spiritually and emotionally parched. We need a little water. Where can we find it? The place of spiritual renewal is the place of prayer. We come into God's presence and He gives us renewal.
'Tis midnight and on Olive's brow The star is dimmed that lately shone 'Tis midnight in the garden now The suffering Saviour prays alone
'Tis midnight and from all removed The Saviour wrestles lone with fears E'en the disciple whom He loved Heeds not his Master's grief and tears
William Batchelder Bradbury | William Bingham Tappan
The words of this old hymn are haunting. You can see Jesus praying in the garden. He is deeply troubled. He knows the pain and anguish that lays ahead. He is beginning to feel the weight of the world's sin. He is alone. Where are His followers - His disciples? They are asleep. Even though Jesus asked them to pray, they are asleep.
I wonder how Jesus felt when He found his disciples were asleep. His task was immense - to bring salvation to the world. He asked them to do something simple - talk to the Father and they did not follow through. Jesus is still seeking to bring salvation to the world. He asks His followers to do things - pray and share the story. Both of those things are really simple, but it often seems that most of His followers are asleep. He has invited us to be partners in His work, but I wonder if He still feels alone?