Sunday, July 29, 2012

What a day!

For all the drama involved in getting to a closing table- the closing itself is somewhat anti-climatic.  The lawyer organized our church officers around the table and soon documents were circulated for signature.  In less than 45 minutes we closed one chapter of our church's history and turned the page to another exciting chapter.

My sermon this morning was an attempt at helping us see the clear evidence of where God has been at work in tangible ways in the history of our church.  The original purchase of the tract at Shiloh and Frey has been blessed and multiplied by God in incredible ways.  It has certainly been a "beyond all we could ask or imagine" process.

How am I feeling this afternoon?  Quite honestly, a little numb, a little scared, a little excited, a little overwhelmed- something like when you squeak-out "I do," or the doctor says, "congratulations, it's a boy... or girl!" Something big and dramatic has just happened, life will be different, the future has taken a new twist. Yes, it will be different... challenging, exciting, tiring at times... but good.

I am glad that we are in this together: pastor, people, and God.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Going for the Gold

It is once again time for the Olympic games.  After our experience in 1996 I almost feel sorry for the people of London!

There is something, though, about seeing the best at anything compete.  You don't have to understand a competition to know that those who compete at this level are masters of their craft.

Features will fill-in the back stories of these athletes and their quest for gold.  It is truly amazing to see teens and young adults who have sacrificed "normal" life- dating, dances, college, jobs, family in a single-minded pursuit to be the best.  For the rest of their lives they will be known as "Olympic competitor," "Olympic medalist," and the fortunate few as "Olympic gold medal winner"

Maybe we can watch and learn something about what it takes to be the best.  What will it cost me to be a better spouse, parent, friend, co-worker, follower of Christ?  Paul uses the imagery of a runner when he states, "But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Farewell to a Faithful Friend

Last Saturday I traveled to Montgomery AL to attend the funeral of Dr. Bob Franklin, former director of Missions for Noonday Baptist Association.  Bob was critically injured in a car accident last fall and died the previous Sunday.

The funeral was decidedly not a sad affair. The service featured music by Bob and Louise's grandchildren, inspiring recollections from their sons, and rousing songs of missions and the kingdom.  It was a fitting tribute to a faithful servant.

Bob Franklin saw things that others simply didn't see.  He saw in lay people the untapped power of missions and the church.  As his son, David remarked, "Bob didn't see men's work or women's work (or preacher work or layperson work, for that matter)- he just saw kingdom work." He saw in communities the potential for new churches.  He saw in churches the capacity to reach people and change lives.  He saw in relationships the potential for partnerships that would multiply possibilities.

Bob Franklin was a friend of Towne View Baptist Church. It was under his leadership that Noonday Baptist Association developed a commitment to starting churches as Cobb County grew.  It was Bob who helped connect the new church start with key supporters like Monroe Swilley, Bob Eubanks, and First Baptist Church of Rome. Bob's commitment to volunteer construction missions led to the development of Noonday's Builders for Christ- a group that helped to build our church-  both in its facilities and in opportunities for growth through service.

I am grateful for servant leaders like Bob Franklin.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Future is Now!

I always cringe a bit when I hear someone say something to the effect of "the youth are the future of the church."  I know these well-meaning friends' intentions are good but it only takes some time at Camp Wherry to realize that the future is now!

I am watching (...and cooking... and preaching a little) as our teens spend some incredibly HOT mornings working on housing remodeling projects.  A brief break for lunch and then they are back at it for Kidz Kamp.  I love the energy and love they share with dozens of children each day- most of which live in homes where English is not the first language they learn.  We re-group at night for heart-felt worship.  Along the way they encourage, challenge, and support each other.  Service... ministry... discipleship... worship... fellowship... sounds a lot like church to me!

These teens are today's church.  But, if my well-meaning friends from above are right... the future is in pretty good hands!