Archive for December, 2007

30
Dec
07

Day One, Hong Kong

We’re Here!

We here, although I am not sure where here is! Where are we? Who knows! What time is it? I have no clue. Better yet, who am I?
Twenty nine hours is a loooooooong time to travel! We are soooooooo tired!
We finally made it to Hong Kong, at 11:00 PM on Saturday, December 28. We landed here purely by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially since it involved three different flights. It is my understanding that Chicago shut down for two or three hours soon after we departed. We breezed through there in a matter of minutes. We were the last to board our flight. Apparently United knew we had just landed, so they held the plane for us.
After arriving in Hong Kong safely we made it to our apartment around 12:30 AM, and we were in bed one hour later. Every one in my family slept well, except me. My motor was running in overdrive. I have had about four hours sleep since Friday morning. I am intentionally staying awake until 9:00 PM tonight (Sunday) so I can sleep through the night.

Busy Day, Today

Today was exciting, and very busy.

Taylor preached at a Filipino Chapel. Vonda says he did a great job. He’s already asking when he can return to Hong Kong. He left us about three hours ago to hang out with some students. I can tell he loves this place. He just called to tell me he was going to see a Chinese movie. My kids are treated like rock stars with their fair skin and blonde hair.

I preached for Dr. Lucenay this morning at Hong Kong International Baptist Church. They have two worship celebrations—a contemporary worship at 9:30, followed by a traditional worship at 11:00 AM. Both worship celebrations were meaningful. Of course, I preached 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. What better message is there to communicate than Jesus Christ and him crucified?

The people here are very magnanimous. They have a very friendly congregation. Their worship will inspire you. Everyone sang so loud. A friend of mine says you can tell much about a church by their singing. He says a singing church is a sign that it is a healthy church. If that is true, and I think it is, then this is a very healthy congregation.

I Know Where Your Church Is

Here is a wild story.

When I arrived for the first worship a woman from India approached me and said, “I know where your church is. I have driven by it before.” I laughingly said, “Are you sure you know where my church is?” She retorted, “I sure do. It is on 1-59 South coming into Birmingham, just outside of Trussville, in an area called Argo.” Only God! Only God would have her to be the first person I met in worship.

Thank You for Praying for Us

Tomorrow we spend the day in Hong Kong, and then we head to Beijing on Tuesday. I plan to post more each day. Thank you for praying for us. This is already a memorable experience just from the first few hours. We cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for us next.

I promise to pray for you. When I lay my head down on a pillow for the first time in about three days, you will be starting worship. Please know that I am praying for you.

Speaking of praying for you; I left my CrossPoint prayer journal at home. So, this morning when I could not sleep, I jumped up to read my Bible and pray. When I came to praying for you—as I do every morning—I started praying for you by name. Although my journal was not handy, I started with the families whose names began with an A and prayed for them. I was surprised how many of your family names came to mind. That was really neat.

Pray for us while we travel to Beijing. Dr. Lucenay’s Student Minister, Mike, has arranged for us to meet with a brand new convert they baptized less than a month ago. He wants us to minister and witness to his family. Of course we said yes.

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28
Dec
07

We are on Our Way to Asia

By the time you read this, my family will be on our way to Hong Kong. It is my desire to post several blogs, and try to post a few videos while we are away. So, check back each day to see what we are doing.

I am posting our itinerary for those of you who would like to pray for us.

December 27 Atlanta

December 28 Atlanta to Chicago
Chicago to Tokyo Narita, Japan
Tokyo Narita, Japan to Hong Kong

December 29-31 Hong Kong

January 1-5 Beijing, China

January 6 –10 Hong Kong

January 11 Hong Kong to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Washington, DC (Dulles)
Washington, DC (Dulles) to Atlanta

January 12 Return to Birmingham

If you are wondering how you can pray for us, I will list a few specific needs:
  • Pray for our safety
  • Pray for good health
  • Pray for specifically for Vonda on our 16 hour flight to and from Tokyo. (She does not do well on airplanes)
  • Please pray for my son, Taylor. He has been invited to preach in a small chapel service of Filipina maids on one side of the island our first Sunday there. His mother and sister plan to worship with him. (I guess they have heard me preach enough through the years.)
  • Pray for me as I preach at Hong Kong International Baptist Church on December 30 and January 6
  • Pray for doors of opportunity to open for us as we are given opportunities to share the gospel
  • Pray for our physical stamina since our schedule will be full of non-stop activity
  • Pray for anything else the Holy Spirit leads you to pray
  • Pray for Steve Holloman, Harry Lucenay and Tim Tidwell, who will be preaching in my absence at CrossPoint

To the CrossPoint family of faith, I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to experience this kind of venture with my family. You know me; I will have plenty of stories to share upon my return.

27
Dec
07

Birmingham Past

Although I was born in Jefferson City, Tennessee, I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. My family moved to the Iron City in June of 1970. My extended family has lived here ever since. So when my dad sent me the following website link, I reflected on parts of Birmingham I remember.

For those of you interested in the Birmingham of yesterday, click here.

For those who have lived here for more than a few years, I would be curious to know what part of the webpage you remembered most.

24
Dec
07

The Twelve Days of Christmas

This is great!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

20
Dec
07

Jesus: Living His Life Backwards

Today I am thinking about Christmas. While doing so, I am reminded of an A. W. Tozer quote about Jesus:

“Jesus is the only man who lived his life backwards. Your life runs from birth to death. But Jesus’ lifeline runs from his death to his birth. The only reason there was a Bethlehem is that there might be a Calvary. At Bethlehem, he was surrounded by beasts so at Calvary he might be surrounded by beastly men. At Bethlehem, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, at Calvary, he was wrapped in his own blood. He was laid in a wooden manger so that one day he would be laid on a wooden cross. He is the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world.”

19
Dec
07

Some Alarming Data about Abortion

A month or two ago I sat down to write something about abortion for an upcoming blog, yet each attempt was incomplete. Abortion is a broad and painful subject. It is so broad that I was too exacerbated to complete the blog.

I am confident more than a few people who attend CrossPoint each weekend have had or have been associated with someone who has had an abortion. Thus, it should be noted that before you read this blog, I want you to know that ABORTION IS NOT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN. Anyone who has had an abortion or who has been associated with an abortion can be forgiven of that sin. And that is why I am so glad CrossPoint is a WHOSOEVER church. CrossPoint preaches and teaches the gospel truth that Jesus paid the price and absorbed God’s wrath for every sin of the sinner who acknowledges Jesus is Lord when they repent and place their full faith in Him.

Now back to my subject.

Like so many of you, I am appalled by abortion. Abortion is terrible. It is a horrible practice. We should be convulsed by the mere thought of it, and even more shaken by the practice of it.

My approach to abortion goes beyond protesting it, however. I have never been one to carry a sign during a public protest. I believe if we are going to be pro-life, then we should think of all of human life—not only birth, but also life after birth and even through death. By the way, I think the abortion movement has done much to help the euthanasia movement—something else that I am against. Now, that’s another topic for another day.

While thinking about abortion again today, someone did me a huge favor and sent me this enewsletter by Thomas Euteneuer from Human Life International. After reading his remarks I knew this was right for my blog.

If you are like me, you will be shocked and saddened by what you read. I think it is fitting to post this blog as we center on the birth of a baby in the next few days.

How Many Heisman Winners Has Abortion Killed?
The sports world recently greeted the news that this year’s Heisman Trophy Winner, Tim Tebow from the University of Florida, was almost a casualty of abortion. Twenty-some years ago he was not the strapping 6’3″, 235 lb. beloved sports hero that he is today. At that time he was a one-inch-long unborn child whose existence, because of an amoebic infection, was defined as threat to his mother’s health. Pam Tebow, his mother, was told by a doctor that it would be in her best interests to abort this baby, and she refused. Her husband backed her up on that generous decision, and seven months later they gave birth to a perfectly healthy boy. Little did they know that twenty years later they would be standing on a national stage with a Heisman Trophy winner giving that magnificent witness to life. The world thanks you, Mr. and Mrs. Tebow! There cannot be a more touching Advent story than this. I wonder if anyone has ever asked how many potential Heisman Trophy winners abortion has actually killed. The answer is, twelve. Reflect on that a bit as you read further because there is a larger lesson in the Tebows’ witness. Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI researcher, has examined the data from the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States (most recent census data) and extrapolated the numbers of the various professions and categories of Americans who have been eliminated in the wake of nearly 49 million legalized abortions, one third of all Americans conceived since 1973. The following numbers are based on the actual government estimates of the professions represented in America. So then, who have we lost to abortion?
  • 2 US Presidents
  • 7 Supreme Court Justices
  • 102 US Senators and 589 Congressmen
  • 8,123 Federal, district and local court judges
  • 31 Nobel Prize laureates
  • 328 Olympic medalists including 123 Gold medalists
  • 6,092 professional athletes
  • 134,841 physicians and surgeons
  • 392,500 registered nurses
  • 70,669 priests, ministers, rabbis and imams including 6,852 priests and 11,010 nuns (vocations “shortage”?)
  • 1,102,443 teachers (K-12)
  • 553,821 truck drivers
  • 224,518 maids and housekeepers
  • 336,939 janitors
  • 134,028 farmers and ranchers
  • 109,984 police officers and sheriff’s deputies
  • 39,477 firefighters
  • 17,221 barbers
  • 24,450,000… women (the gender of roughly half of all children aborted).

These numbers of course are only the tip of the iceberg. Keep in mind that we get our statistics about abortion from the abortion industry itself which has a vested interest in under-reporting the numbers. Likewise, these categories are only a few of the professions that Americans actually work in and are by no means a full portrayal of the total American workforce. What they represent, however, is the immense human toll that abortion takes on a society. Abortion-promoters present abortion as an exclusively private choice, but thirty-five years of abortion exposes the perniciousness of that lie. There is a social toll that comes from abortion which cannot easily be corrected. For three and a half decades the feminists have reveled in a misleading “freedom to choose,” and on the basis of that false “right” have eliminated their children and done immense damage to the family as the basic unit of society. Those who respect these sacred realities, on the other hand, have their wives and husbands to grow old with, their children to enjoy and their grandkids to play with and spoil. The love of life, marriage and family never leaves its adherents penniless, lonely or abandoned, and every now and then God throws in a Heisman Trophy just to show the rest of us that it’s all worth it.

18
Dec
07

More about God’s Glory

I concluded yesterday’s by wrestling with why I am preaching God’s glory for all of 2008.

The short answer is I firmly believe this is where God wants to take CrossPoint in the coming year.

Can the people of God ever know enough about God? Can the people of God ever know enough about the glory of God? I don’t think so.

I like what A. W. Tozer says about knowing God, in The Knowledge of the Holy:

“It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous and inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is. …What comes to mind when we think of God is the most important thing about us.”

One of my pastor friends interprets the Tozer quote this way: The most important thing about you is your concept of God. Your concept of God determines everything about you.

I agree with Tozer as well as with my pastor friend.

It is my desire in 2008 to talk about God and His glory and nothing else. During the year we will refer to several basic Scripture passages. We will quote Romans 11:35 each week, which reads,

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Get that passage memorized. We will refer to it often.

Another passage we will refer to in the year will be 1 Corinthians 10:31. Paul teaches,

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Our goal is simple: we want to know God better by knowing more about God’s glory. I want us to see God’s glory, to enjoy God’s glory, to know God’s glory, to live for God’s glory, and to share God’s glory. In doing this, I am convinced we will definitely learn to live for God’s glory.

Centuries ago the Puritan preachers would say to their people, “If you pray me full, I will preach you full.” This is my request as well as we seek to learn more about God’s glory.

God alone be the glory!