If you are a Southern Baptist, you must read this article from Douglas Baker and Nathan Finn. As you probably are aware, there has been much discussion of late on how we allot and spend our missions dollars. In all of the discussions, this is the most cogent and sound article I have read.
At question is the role of our state conventions and their relationship to the national convention. Baker and Finn have proposed a priority list for state convention ministries (spending areas) that should make everybody happy. That is a hard thing to pull off.
The proposed priority list:
- Church planting and revitalization
- Higher education
- Mercy ministries
Read their full explanation by clicking on the link below:
Meaningful friendship. We all need this and crave this, but do we really experience it? We live in a time when most of us have hundreds or thousands of “friends” on Facebook. How do we know if these “friends” are really friends or merely acquaintances. Perhaps some are only friends of friends or people with a common connection.
This morning I read through the account of the friendship between David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel. I loved not only the action of friendship between these two men, but the descriptive imagery of that relationship. See if the relationship between you and your friends measure up.
1. Good friends have knitted souls.
The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.
(1 Samuel 18:1 ESV)
I don’t know much about knitting, but I do know that knitting two things together means they are intertwined and connected. Notice that it was their souls that were knitted together. This is the deepest parts of them. Friendship is not merely a random connection, it involves the depths of who we are.
2. Good friends love each other as much as they love themselves.
Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
(1 Samuel 18:1 ESV)
It is a given that we love our own soul. When we love somebody else like we love our self, then we are good friends.
3. Good friends act like they love each other.
Both David and Jonathan risked their lives, their careers and their reputations for each other. Your actions may not have to be as drastic as it was for these two, but their should be action.
4. Good friends are a gift from God.
The Bible verse above indicates that the souls of David and Jonathan were knitted together. Who did the knitting? We can assume that it was God. God puts people in our lives and knits us together with them. What a gift. Receiving a gift should prompt us to be thankful. Today offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the genuine friends whom God has given you.
This past Sunday, Sojourn Community Church in Louisville celebrated 10 years as a church. The Louisville newspaper wrote a nice article about how the church has grown to about 2400 each week in attendance during these 10 years. The article highlighted the impact Sojourn has had on its community by living and serving in the community.
Interestingly, readers comments were bombarded by those who called Sojourn cult-like. What do you think were the chief gripes by the critics? They did not accuse Sojourn of any scandalous activities. Instead they attacked them basically for these 3 things:
- They believe the Bible.
- They believe that pastoral leadership should be male.
- They uphold a biblical sexuality instead of condoning homosexuality, adultery or pre-marital sex.
In response to this, one of the pastors, Mike Cosper, has penned an excellent article about what he calls “Fundaphobia.” Mike is a sharp, talented and gracious friend of mine. What he writes applies not only in Louisville, but to our western culture as a whole. It is well worth your time to read.
- Flower – Calla Lily
- Gemstone – Amethyst
- Gifts – Candy and Iron
So, I guess I’ll be giving Suzie a box of chocolates and an iron. Sound good? On second thought, I don’t want an iron upside my head on this special day.
In these six years, we have lived in six cities. This is one tradition that we are not going to keep up with as the years roll on.
- Daytona Beach
- West Palm Beach
- West Palm Beach
We have had some great adventures together. From our Hawaiian trip to the Smokey Mountains to the Florida Keys to Disney World to various Florida beaches, we have journeyed to some fantastic destinations. Yet, we find just as much joy in spending a day with each other at home. On the road or at home, we like being with each other. God’s design for marriage is that two become one in marriage. We are two vastly different people, but have a union of spirit, heart, mind and body.
Happy anniversary, babe. I genuinely love you.
1. The funny part of this story is a line in the wording of the lawsuit.
IHOP-KC intended to misappropriate the fame and notoriety of the household name IHOP to help promote and make recognizable their religious organization.
The pancake lawyers assert that the household name IHOP conveys fame and notoriety. The word “notoriety” is the noun form of the same base word notorious. Notorious is defined as “generally known and talked of; especially : widely and unfavorably known.” Did their lawyers intend to convey that the pancake folks are “unfavorably known?”
2. The praying IHOP has been in existence since 1999. Why now are the pancake IHOP filing suit?
3. The website for the prayer group is www.ihop.org. That’s probably not good news for the defending lawyers.
4. On their website, the prayers have a section titled “Acronyms.” On that page they list the acronyms IHOP-KC (for the Kansas City based operation) and IHOPU for their training institute. Again, probably not good news with regard to the lawsuit.
5. The praying IHOP does have some strong endorsements from some who have been influential in Christianity.
6. I would suggest finding an appropriate synonym for international. People do tend to think of pancakes when they see IHOP. What they think of them may be up for debate. To some, IHOP may be notorious.
7. In the spirit of pop cultural acronyms and names, let me offer 10 ministry names to avoid:
Koinonia Fellowship Church – KFC
Community of Kingdom Expansion – COKE
People Empowering People Since the Incarnation – PEPSI
Youth Against Halloween’s Occult Observances – YAHOO
Brotherhood People – BP
Ladies and Girls Against Godless Anarchy – Ladies GAGA
Very Holy One – VH1
Every Saint Perfecting Now – ESPN
Fellowship Of Reformed Dutch – FORD
Independent People Helping Overcome Numerous Entities – IPHONE
Are there any you would add?
This is the kind of wisdom that I have grown accustomed to from this godly man. It is such a joy to be a part of First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach for the second time under his leadership. My hope is that SBC leaders will take to heart what he has written.
For too long Southern Baptists have operated like givers to the United Way or to the IRS. We like some of the things are money does. We are neutral about others. We may even disagree over some expenditures. Yet all the while we keep giving (or having it taken from us by the government).
Today, we have options when it comes to our giving. Churches should be wise about these options.
According to this article (America’s Unhappiest Cities: Louisville, Ky. – BusinessWeek), Louisville, Kentucky leads the nation in divorces. The city also ranks as the 17th unhappiest city with divorce being one of the key factors.
Unfortunately, I have contributed to that divorce statistic and had some very unhappy year there. I am not sure what is in the water that makes divorce so prevalent among Louisvillians, but I pray that those in the city will strengthen their marriages in the days to come.
Louisville is a great place. My issues were not related to the city. In fact, I am stronger today because of people I met and who live there. I have 3 children, 3 grandchildren, 1 son-in-law and 1 daughter-in-law residing there. I have wonderful friends and I met my wife, Suzie, while living there.
Will you join with me in praying for stronger marriages for this city? I am specifically praying for the marriages of two of my kids who live in The Ville.
Jon Acuff provides a helpful geography lesson on avoiding the big sins in life. The kinds of sins that are so destructive. We don’t often camp out in the big sin areas without first camping near them. Acuff looks at the example of Lot to discover how he wound up in the middle of Sodom. In contrast, he sheds light on how Joseph avoided the advances of Potiphar’s wife. This article is well worth your time to read.
Speaking of Potiphar’s wife, Acuff suggests she should be cast on Real Housewives of Egypt. In an earlier article, he called her the first cougar. Both are fitting descriptions.
micahfries – don’t know what’s crazier – that we can’t get copies of SBC sermons online for free or that the place to purchase them is known as SBCtapes?
Southern Baptists often discuss whether our organizations are stuck in the 1950′s. Fries’ tweet does seem to suggest that we have made it out of the 50′s…but only to the 70′s. SBC Tapes??? The name of the distribution company conjures up turning over cassette tape to hear the remainder of its contents.
To their credit SBC Tapes does provide the sermons in CD audio and DVD video formats. So, even though it makes me chuckle I could live with this. What does trouble me is that the pricing and other constraints make it appear that the content of these sermons is a closely guarded secret. We can’t possibly want people to hear again what was preached or have anybody accessing them without paying a stiff price. Consider these things that I learned from the website distributing the sermons:
1. To listen again to Matt Chandler’s sermon, I would have to pay $9 for a CD or $17 for a DVD. That’s for 1 sermon. Through such modern contraptions like internet websites or iTunes, I can listen to hundreds of Chandler’s other sermons for free.
2. To get the package of all 14 Pastors Conference CDs, I would have to pay $106. The DVDs – $210. Seriously, I’m not making this up.
3. Shipping adds another $2 per CD/DVD (max $10).
4. The website indicates that this is a private ministry. Ministry??? It does indicate that over 50% of the money for Pastors Conference sermons goes back to the Pastors Conference. No such statement exists for the SBC session.
5. Anybody interested in hearing the Executive Committee report again? I seriously doubt it, but if you did you could get part 1 for the $9 or $17. Part 2 would cost you the same. If I was truly sadistic and wanted to watch again both parts of this report, it would cost me $38. Yes, $38.
6. Once you order an item, it takes 3-4 weeks to get your order to you. Are they being shipped from China on a boat? As somebody who does business on line, a CD can be shipped for less than $2 and arrive in 3-4 days.
6. The SBC consists of several million members with about 20,000 actually attending the sessions. Shouldn’t we try to make these sessions as available to our members as possible? Who is actually buying these?
7. Once you do buy a CD, you still are limited in its use. Read this notice from the website:
Please help us protect this revenue stream by not duplicating or uploading any of these messages without SBC Tapes written consent. The Pastors’ Conference thanks you for your honesty and support.
Notice that the sermons of these preachers is now a “revenue stream.” Notice also the switch in nouns in these two sentences. In the first sentence, the revenue stream is controlled by SBC Tapes. In the second sentence it is The Pastors’ Conference that thanks you for your honesty and support.
For those of you with influence in the SBC, this system needs to be thrown in the garbage heap right away. As Fries suggests in his tweet, make them available on-line and without cost. This can be done without incurring any additional charges. No objection to this should exist unless the goal is “revenue streams” rather than ministry.