Archive for June, 2006

26
Jun
06

An Odd Number

There are some theologians of the past who had a way with words that minister to me every time I read them. One such theologian was A. W. Tozer. Here is a Tozer quote I always enjoy reading:
A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen. Talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see. He expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order that he might be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, and goes down in order to get up. He is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and is happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, and gives away so he can keep. He sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge.
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25
Jun
06

Update on Rick Rickerson

I want to thank you for your prayerful support for my family during this trying time with Rick’s recovery from heart surgery. Rick suffered a major setback Thursday when his heart stopped beating. Thankfully the very capable and skilled nurses and doctors were able to resuscitate him within a minute or two, and his vital signs appear to be stable this morning. He also appears to be more conscious of what is going on around him.

The surgeon believes this event is more of a pulmonary problem rather than a cardiac one. Apparently he asphyxiated during an x-ray they were taking of his stomach. His system was already in shock from surgery. The nausea shocked his heart even more, causing it to stop beating. Thus, the episode had nothing to do with his heart but with his lungs responding to the asphyxiation. Believe it or not, that is good news.

Now we must pray for progress. Prior to this event Rick was neither regressing nor progressing. For him to get well he must begin making progress. Rick is a strong man, and he has a very strong will to live. My mother is a strong woman, and her faith, along with support from her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and friends continues to sustain her. She is tired, however, and she desperately needs to get some rest.

Since so many of you have asked, the best thing you can do for us is pray. Pray for Rick’s health to improve. Pray for his vital signs to get stronger and stronger. Pray for his kidneys to wake up from the anesthesia. Pray for his body to heal. Also please pray for my sweet mom. It’s hard watching her struggle through this. Pray for her to have the endurance, strength and faith necessary to win this battle.
CrossPoint, I love you and I am proud of you for caring for my mother. For example, her Bible study class is helping my sister move Mom and Rick’s belongings back into their “new” house today. For those of you who do not know that story, Mom’s house was almost totally destroyed by fire last December. On Monday the insurance company called to inform us the remodeling was completed and that she needed to move out of the apartment and back into her house. When so many of you found out, you responded and said, “We can take care of that!”

So you see my mother’s plate is full. And, as she likes to say, she wants to make room for at least one piece of dessert. CrossPoint, thank you for helping us make room for dessert on my mother’s plate.

I look forward to worshiping with you Sunday, on Bryan’s first day as our Minister of Worship and Media. Let’s gather with expectant hearts, ready to worship.

Keep the faith.

23
Jun
06

Therefore, submit, conform, humble, obey, and offer.

While exercising this morning, the Lord impressed me to run through my mind many of the essentials we must follow as Christ followers.

Some of the passages included:

If anyone would come after me, HE MUST DENY HIMSELF
Luke 9:23

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, TO OFFER YOUR BODIES AS LIVING SACRIFICES
Romans 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, LET US THROW OFF EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS….
Hebrews 12:1

SUBMIT YOURSELVES, then, to God.
James 4:7

HUMBLE YOURSELVES BEFORE THE LORD, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10

Returning to my study I was reminded that the Christian life is not a passive life. We cannot remain static and run with God. The Christian life is proactive. To be proactive we must submit, obey, yield and humble ourselves before the Lord each day.

We do these things daily before God because God commands us to do so. We also implement these disciplines daily to aggressively crucify our sinful behavior. The root cause to our shared problem is PRIDE. Pride is the primary force behind our sinful bent. Our pride is also what precludes us from submitting to the Lord.

Three times the Scripture says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6). In two of those passages, the Holy Spirit follows that truth with this command: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6) and Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10).

The secret to the abundant life in Christ is humility. The secret to the rich life in Christ is brokenness. The secret to the dynamic life in Christ is meekness.

That is why the Bible says,

To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
Psalm 18:25-27

That is why the Bible teaches,

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

That is also why the Bible says,

And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Daniel 4:37b

Remember, GOD OPPOSES THE PROUD BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore, submit, conform, humble, obey, and offer.

21
Jun
06

Spiritually Speaking — WOW!!

There’s that word again. It is the only spiritual word I can think of when I walk through the new wing of Phase II. WOW! The next time you are on the church campus, I encourage you to walk through the new building. You will be amazed. Both floors are starting to take shape. Approximately half the windows have been set in place. We are ready for the roofers to put down the roof. It is absolutely amazing what has happened in 14 days of work.

The second floor fellowship hall is what is most impressive to me. When I walk in the room I don’t see studs and trusses. Instead, I see people; many people! I see children and adults, parents and grandparents. I see people we have not yet met. You know; the nameless, faceless ones we will meet thanks to Phase II.

So, the next time you are on campus, walk through the first building of Phase II. Prepare yourself. You might just shout WOW!
21
Jun
06

What Were They Thinking?

Today’s headline of The Birmingham News poked me in the eye early this morning. The headline reads “Presbyterians to try variations on Trinity.”

Greg Garrison, the news staff writer covering the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting in Birmingham this week reports,

The Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly on Monday accepted a report that encourages, but does not mandate, using alternatives to traditional references to the Trinity.

A few of the alternative forms for the Trinity include:

  • Rainbow of Promise, Ark of Salvation and Dove of Peace
  • Speaker, Word and Breath
  • Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child, Lifegiving Womb
  • Rock, Cornerstone and Temple
  • Lover, Beloved and Love that binds together Lover and Beloved
  • Giver, Gift and Giving

Garrison continues,

“The language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, rooted in Scripture and creed, remains an indispensable anchor for our efforts to speak faithfully of God,” said the theological report for the 2.3 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA). “With this anchor in place, however, we are liberated to interpret, amplify, and expand upon the ways of naming the three-in-one God familiar to most church members. We are freed to speak faithfully and amply of the mystery of the Trinity.”

What is the PC USA thinking? Better yet, what are they smoking?

The Bible is clear: the Trinity consists of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Any addition, manipulation or amplification of that is heresy. The operative word in the aforementioned quote is “liberated”. If the PC USA is not careful they will “liberate” themselves into oblivion.

Thankfully, a few people in the PC USA have some form of biblical grounding and understanding. Garrison continues,

Some members of the committee said the church had taken a non-controversial issue and created a controversy over gender-inclusive language. They offered a minority report, which was rejected by the General Assembly.

The minority report said the Trinity paper makes the biblical names of God equivalent to metaphors or analogies for God.

“The Trinity paper suffers from a confusion about the names of God,” said Jonathan Lovelady, a committee member who opposed the report. “It was a matter of great concern for the early church and it’s still a matter of concern.”

It is a shame the minority report was rejected. Those speaking in the minority made much more sense than the majority. It is sad that the majority often rules in the church.

Additionally, little did I realize when I started a message series on defending and defining the faith four months ago, that part of the defense would include contending for the faith within the church.

There is a message here for CrossPoint. We must continue to contend for the faith, both within and outside of the church.

The call is simple: we must remain faithful to the Bible and what it says instead of what we think we are “liberated” to say about it. And that is why I have asked you every week for the last 18 weeks do you know what you believe and why you believe it? What you believe and why you believe it is important because someday it will be challenged…even from the PC USA!

20
Jun
06

Please Pray for These Families

Part of pastoring a church includes mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Today I am mourning.

I am mourning with Walt & Breezy Miller from Enterprise, AL. The Lord introduced Walt & Breezy to CrossPoint two weeks ago through the Campers on Mission who helped us with Phase II.

Last Friday they received tragic news that their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren were killed instantly in an auto accident. I spoke with Walt & Breezy this morning. I cried with them over the phone. Walt & Breezy are people of strong faith. Please continue to pray for them. There is no way any of us can identify with the sorrow they are experiencing. All we can do is love them and pray for them. The funeral will be this Friday, June 23 in Enterprise.

After calling the Millers, I called Carrie Howell in Cleveland, MS. She is Chris Howell’s wife. Chris serves as our Adult Education Minister. Carrie’s mother is in the final stages of fighting cancer. Carrie believes the Lord is using these last few lingering days of her mother’s life to afford her family time to prepare for her death and to be of support for her father. Please pray for the Lord to show His mercy soon, if not today.

While praying with both families this morning I was reminded of Psalm 91:1-2:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Please pray for these families today. Thank you.

18
Jun
06

It’s Official—I am Worth More Dead than Alive!

It is official. I am now worth more to CrossPoint dead than I am alive.

The bank requested a “Key Leader” life insurance policy on me so that we can secure our construction loan. Some security: Ryan dies and the church pays off the debt!

Last Wednesday I completed the paperwork, two days later a nurse shows up at my office to give me a quasi-physical. Before you get any crazy pictures in your head, the nurse was my mother’s age and her husband accompanied her.

It was an exhilarating experience, to say the least. Here’s the good part: during the final test, an EKG, the nurse accuses me of not relaxing.

Not relaxing! Who was she kidding!

I signed my life away on a multi-million dollar life insurance policy. I was requested to pee in a cup. I weighed 15 pounds more than I predicted. I gave two vials of blood. I answered one hundred questions about my medical history. My blood pressure was checked twice for accuracy. Now I am sitting half-naked in my church office with 10 electrode devices attached my upper torso and chest, and the nurse has the audacity to tell me to relax!

Humbling? No way! More like humiliating! Yet for CrossPoint’s sake it is worth it.

So, if I die anytime between now and 2016, please call CSI: Miami to investigate my death. Steve Parr tells me the Stewardship Team wants to treat me to lunch soon after the policy is in tact.