Archive for December, 2007



17
Dec
07

Glory to God Alone

I am in trouble. I have bitten off more than I can chew. I am in water over my head. I have out-kicked my punt coverage. My mouth is writing checks my brain cannot cash.

What’s all the fuss, you ask.

For those of you who do not know, if the Lord is willing, my plan is to preach the glory of God throughout 2008. I made this decision a few months ago, thinking I had more than enough inspiration at my disposal to preach all year. At the time I thought preaching on this subject was a good move. A few months later, however, I am not so sure it is something I should do. Or should I say, I am not so sure it is something I am capable of doing.

And what is my dilemma? My dilemma is the more I study the glory of God the less I understand the glory of God. Or, to put it another way, my brain is incapable of processing everything the Bible says about God’s glory.

The glory of God is a voluminous subject. In a very practical sense, God’s glory is humanly incomprehensible. And, whatever is humanly incomprehensible is usually, ten times out of ten, humanly incommunicable.

Preaching is already an arduous task. What makes preaching for me more laborious is speaking on a subject beyond my level of comprehension. Now some of you know why I stick to the simple subjects. Anything beyond salvation through Jesus Christ is out of my league, way out of my league.

Yes, I know the Lord will help me. It is His job to equip me to preach His word. The problem I am encountering has nothing to do with God, however, but with me. The hard drive of my brain is so small I am not sure there is anymore room for ram space.

My understanding of God is weak, very weak. And what makes that statement so ironic is that I earnestly believe I know and understand more about God than I have ever known or understood before. Perhaps the more we think we know about God, the less we realize we really do know about God.

Does the preceding statement even make sense?

To put it bluntly, I am overwhelmed by the task of preaching the glory of God in 2008. What was an enthusiastic interest two months ago is now a heavy burden. I am all over the Bible. The glory of God is noted on every page. Let me give you an example. It is a small, yet profound, example.

Complete this sentence, “The glory of God is…”

If you were to study the word glory, this is a small tidbit of what you would discover. The actual word glory means to describe anything that is heavy, such as a man (1 Samuel 4:18) or a rock (Isaiah 32:2), but it can also be used figuratively to describe blindness (eyes that are “heavy”; Genesis 48:10), or unbelief (a heavy or hardened heart; Exodus 9:7), or wealth (“heavy” with silver and gold; Genesis 13:2). I also know there is a related meaning, “important” (i.e., throwing ones weight around). A derived meaning is “to treat as important, to honor” Get this, the word for “liver” in the Hebrew language is a related noun to the word glory, for the liver is the heaviest organ and therefore thought to be the most important, or at least at the center of human life. [Source: Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation, Allen P. Ross, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2006), pp. 46-47]. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding ONLY the word glory, much less how word glory applies to God!

So why print all the fuss about God’s glory? Why all the explanation about not comprehending God’s glory? Why not just change topics and move on to something more manageable, more palatable?

I will save my answers to those questions for tomorrow’s blog.

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12
Dec
07

Shocking Statistics

Did you know that in the USA…

  • Over 50% of people over age 16 are functionally illiterate.

    A person who is functionally illiterate lacks a sufficient foundation of basic reading and writing skills to function successfully in our society. A functionally illiterate person..

  1. Can read some – signs, food labels, advertisements and parts of a newspaper.
  2. Cannot locate two pieces of information in a news article.
  3. Can locate the expiration date on their driver’s license.
  4. Cannot successfully fill out a social security card application by themselves.
  5. Forms opinions from conversations with friends, the radio and TV.
  6. Learns through stories, anecdotes, proverbs, songs, and practical experience.
  • 58% of the U.S. adult population never reads another book after high school.
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book.
  • 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book in 2002.
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion. Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
  • Each day, people in the US spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.
  • 65% of American children have television sets in their bedrooms.
  • It is estimated that people spend as much as 80% (38 hours per week) of their non-working, non-sleeping time in front of a television or computer screen.
  • Nearly 70% of the world’s people (4+ billion) are oral communicators.
  • That means… only 20% to 30% of the world’s people are print or literate communicators.
  • Researchers believe that 70% or more of the people in North America prefer non-literate means of communication.

Source: www.echothestory.com

Shocking, isn’t it?

11
Dec
07

Worship

Worship.
Worship is a huge thing.
We look forward to worship every week.
When the worship includes one of our favorites we say, “The worship was great.”
When the music stinks we yawn and wonder why the worship wasn’t very good.
We leave churches because of the “styles of worship”.
Worship is a huge thing.
Have you ever wondered if we are more concerned with what worship does for us… and less with the Object of worship?
It seems like it’s more about what we GET not what we GIVE.
It would be like taking a gift to a friend’s birthday party, but keeping it for ourselves.
Worship is all about giving our lives – again – to God.
Worship is NOT about the feelings we receive.
Worship is NOT about convincing God to bless us.
Worship is NOT about whether or not the guitar was too loud.
Worship is NOT about what’s happening on the stage.
Worship is NOT about lighting, entertaining or sound.
Worship is NOT about us at all.
It’s NOT about us.
Worship is about Him.
It’s about Him.
We enter worship through the gateway of the cross.
At the cross
We kneel
We surrender
We confess
We cry
We repent
We gaze
We respond
We cling
We wait
We worship
Worship is about looking at God and placing Him above all things.
-copied

06
Dec
07

The Painful Reality of Death

My dear cousin, Danny, called me this morning. His heart is so full of grief. You could hear the deep sorrow in his voice.

Danny and I spent several minutes on the phone talking about his son’s funeral and graveside service. Danny was calling to ask permission to read part of yesterday’s blog in the service. Of course I said yes. My prayer is that anything and everything that is read or said in Timmy’s funeral service would be used for God’s glory as well as for the salvation for all those who need to repent.

I could tell from his weary voice that Danny was exhausted. I am not sure Danny has had too many hours of sleep or rest since receiving that fateful phone call Saturday evening. And, I am sure he will not get much rest in the days to come.

When I asked Danny how he was holding up he said, “It feels Christ is breathing for me.” Wow, what a powerful image—Christ breathes for you!

In many respects, I think that is exactly what Christ wants to do for us. Christ wants to breathe for us. Christ also wants to think for us, love through us, serve through us, provide for us, and meet all of our needs for us.

While talking to Danny I kept running Philippians 4:19 through my mind. Paul writes,

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory
in Christ Jesus.

It is “according to the riches in glory in Christ Jesus” that all of our needs are met. Christ Jesus wants to and is completely able to meet all of our needs. Before hanging up the phone, Danny and I spent time praying together over the phone.

After talking to Danny I called on Christ to meet my needs. I, too, am weary today. The news of Timmy’s death has also saddened my heart. I can only imagine the despair his parents feel today.

The painful reality of death reaches deep into one’s soul. And, it is in times like these the only relief we can ever received will be found in calling on Christ to meet all of our needs according to His glorious riches.

05
Dec
07

Are You an Organ Donor?

My extended family received some terrible news Sunday afternoon. My first cousin’s son, Timmy Henley, was shot and killed during a drug deal in Atlanta Saturday night.

Timmy was only 33 years old. His life was marked by drugs, prison and many other problems. However, the last two or three years of his life were noted by a continual effort to overcome his addictions.

I last visited with Timmy on the night of October 15, the date of his grandfather’s (and my uncle) 80th birthday. Timmy visited with us for about three hours that night. I commented the next morning to my uncle how proud I was to see and hear of Timmy’s great progress. He had been drug free for almost a year, had a job and it seemed like he had turned a major corner in his battle against the demons of drug addiction. Little did I realize then that would be the last time I would see Timmy alive.

The authorities believe the execution-style murder was due to a major debt Timmy owed a local drug dealer. They believe Timmy’s friend was also set up for her execution as well. She, too, owed the drug dealer money. How tragic it is to think two lives were taken because of debt for drugs.

My uncle and cousin’s families are devastated. His funeral service will be this Thursday night in Knoxville, followed by a graveside on Friday morning. My mother and I will be heading that way very early Friday morning.

I called Timmy’s father and my first cousin, Danny Henley last night. Danny was so grief stricken he could hardly speak. Danny expressed a wide range of emotions throughout the call. He was so full of despair. He was also angry, angry enough to take revenge into his own hands. Thankfully his older brother helped him leave the murders in the Lord’s hands.

Even in the midst of tragedy, there are some glimmers of hope.

One shining ray of faith all of us share is that Timmy was born again a few years ago during his drug rehab treatment in Atlanta. He told his father and grandfather that one day during his rehab he got on his knees before God, admitted that he was a sinner and submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. For that decision we are all eternally thankful. Now, rather than just saying Timmy is gone, we can say Timmy is gone home to be with the Lord.

Another spark of hope that has encouraged us was that Timmy was an organ donor. Even though Timmy was pronounced brain dead upon arriving at the hospital, his heart continued to beat for several hours. Thus, the medical team was able to put his body on life support in order to harvest some of his organs for transplant patients across the country. The medical team honored a request Timmy made years ago after a terrible traffic accident where 30% of his body was badly burned. Soon after that wreck he noted on his driver’s license he wanted his organs donated.

Even in the midst of tragedy Timmy’s family can rejoice because…

  • a 16-year old girl in Georgia was given a new hear
  • a 30-year old man in Tennessee was given a new lease on life
  • his stomach was given to a man in another part of the country
  • Timmy’s large intestines were given to a grandmother battling cancer
  • His corneas were donated to an 18-month old baby who could not see
  • His bones, ligaments, tissue and skin were donated to various hospitals across the country.
  • The only organs the transplant team could not use were his lungs because they had already started to fill with fluid

My cousin tells me an entire team of doctors, surgeons and nurses were on hand with airplanes waiting as they received each of these organs. Additionally, a nurse from the organ transplant group in Atlanta remained with Timmy’s body through the autopsy performed by the police coroner. She wanted the family to know that someone was with Timmy’s body at all times during this life-giving process. Danny said it was ironic how thankful he was even in the midst of all this tragedy.

I apologize for the graphic nature of today’s blog. I was compelled, however, to write this story in memory of Timmy and in honor of his life-giving donation to so many people. Yes, Timmy had his faults, foibles and sins. Don’t we all, though? The only difference between Timmy’s sins and many others was that they were so public.

Are you an organ donor? Many years ago I noted on my driver’s license that I wanted to be an organ donor. It is easy to do. Organ donors are live-savers. Timmy wasted many years of his life on drugs. Those years can never be taken back, yet nothing about his life was wasted in his death. Even in his death, Timmy was a life-saver.

To learn more about being an organ donor, click here.

04
Dec
07

International Mission Board Report of the Southern Baptist Convention

Many of you know Gene and Margorie Dykes. For those of you who do not know them, Gene and Margorie have been on this journey with some of us now since the conception of CrossPoint. Both of them have labored sacrificially to see CrossPoint become a reality. They were the couple who extended the welcome during the ONE BIG WORSHIP.

For several years Gene served on the Board of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is through Gene’s tenure I befriended Dr. Jerry Rankin, Executive Director of the IMB. And, it is through Gene Dykes I have learned to appreciate the worldwide mission efforts of the Southern Baptist Convention.

On Monday Margorie gave me a letter Gene received from Dr. Rankin. The letter was sent to all the former trustees of the IMB. Provided below are a few highlights from that letter:

  • During the Illinois Baptist State Convention, the IMB appointed 82 new missionaries.
  • One hundred people groups were newly engaged during 2006, with 83 of those classified as unreached groups.
  • New churches started totaled 25,497, for a total of 157,890 churches related to IMB work at the end of 2006.
  • Baptisms totaled 609,968—far more than any previous year.
  • More than 220,000 people were involved in leadership training around the world.
  • The adoption of the 2008 budget of $304,800,000 reflects continuing support by Southern Baptists of the work of the IMB.
  • That budget includes this December’s goal for a Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (AKA, World Mission Offering at CrossPoint) of $165,000,000.

Southern Baptists continue to remain on the cutting edge of missions throughout the world. CrossPoint is an active participant in that cutting edge mission endeavor through its World Missions Offering. This year’s goal for CrossPoint is $75,000. Next weekend we expect the Lord to exceed that goal through us as each of us give. I trust you are preparing to give and give generously to the worldwide mission offering of CrossPoint. I give generously the World Missions Offering because I know each dollar goes directly to missions.

03
Dec
07

Begin Your Week

Here is a great way to begin your week by praying the following prayer:

Lord, I am WILLING
To RECEIVE what You GIVE
To LACK what You WITHHOLD
To RELINQUISH what You TAKE
To SUFFER what You INFLICT
To PRAISE what You ORDAIN
To CHERISH what You CREATED
To BE what You REQUIRE
Lord, I AM WILLING to HEAR and HEED
ALL that YOU have to SAY.


Kudos to Tim Tidwell.




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