Monday, November 3, 2014


It was great to be "home" Sunday as we celebrated our first service in our new facility.  I've paced the building almost daily for the last several months- walking "rooms" before they were rooms. It was a building- a beautiful, growing building but Sunday it became "home." Much like a house is just a house until it has a family- then it becomes home, so our building was just a collection of construction materials until it had a church to call it "home."

As a home it welcomed members and guests, visitors from the neighborhood and friends who came to share the special day. Each face, each smile told a story and together our stories bore witness to the Great Story as we worshiped. From the sounding of the shofar to the last notes of Shout to the Lord we celebrated the presence of God in God's house.

I guess I was surprised at how quickly it felt like home.  Maybe it was the familiar faces and the shared lives. We have a future now and our future is here.  There must be some truth to the old adage that "home is where the heart is." And our hearts are here, with one another, in a new place, on our way to the next stage in God's grand journey.

It is good to be home!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's a "10"

On my way to the office this morning a  local radio meteorologist pronounced that today would be a "10" on his ratings meter. Seasonally appropriate temperatures, clear skies, and no precipitation were his rubric for an outstanding day.

At the next red light my mind remembered another way to forecast a day, "this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." The psalmist didn't know if the day was going to be a "10" or a "2"- all he knew was that it was a gift from God.

Because the day was a gift it wouldn't matter whether it was a "10" or a "2", he would be glad in it. If enemies attacked, God would protect. If friends deserted him, God would be present.  If strength failed, God would sustain. If resources dissipated, God would provide.

The honking horn of an impatient fellow-traveler brought me back to "this day" and thoughts of an unfinished building, a meeting I needed to prepare for, a call I didn't really want to make, and the unexpected death of an uncle. My "10" was quickly becoming a "2."

Yet, "this is the day the Lord has made" and because he will protect, be present, sustain, and provide, "I will be glad in it."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Geese at Church

We must have received favorable reviews on trivago or travelocity or kayak or at least the "goose" version of these travel guides.  The last couple of weeks we've been host to several groups of Canadian geese as they take a respite on their journey south.

I guess that the grass and trees and bird feed and puddles have made our church grounds an inviting place to take a break- though the squirrels- who eat most of the bird seed- will be glad to see them gone!

These geese are beautiful, though more graceful in the air than on the ground.  While here you can't escape the fact that they are noisy, messy, and sometimes belligerent- with one another and with humans who wander too close. One minute they are fussing and squawking, the next they are preening one another's feathers.

After a time of rest and renewal they will venture off again together on a journey towards home- a journey none would dare take alone.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Speak, O Lord

This morning started with a song in my head.  You never know where such things originate but I found myself trying to reconstruct "Speak, O Lord" by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  Quite honestly, it was only that first phrase and a couple of lines of the tune that I could recall.  That in itself was frustrating, yet motivating- driving me to the hymnal and the internet as soon as I reached the office.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You to receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today in our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us all Your purposes for Your glory.

I am grateful that folks like the Gettys and their partner Stuart Townend are writing new hymns for the church.  Our worship services have incorporated songs of theirs like "In Christ Alone," "Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer," "O Church Arise," and "The Risen Christ."  The canon of scripture is closed- but the song-book of the church is still open! Music has a wonderful way of expressing our hopes, prayers, and worship. Sometimes what we can't shake from our heads takes root in our hearts.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds; help us grasp the depths of Your plans for us-
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time that will echo down thro' eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises, and by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built and the earth is filled with your glory.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

He is Risen!

Flowers bloom, birds sing,
The very voice of nature rings-
He is risen!

Monday, March 24, 2014

An Afternoon at the Beach

Lat week I took something of a personal spring break as I traveled to Florida to visit with family for a couple of days.  I enjoyed good time with my Mom, pleasant visits with my brothers and their families, and, of course, some time at the beach.

Walking the beach was something of a trip down memory lane.  I couldn't help but smile as parents tried to keep-up with umbrellas, small children, and toys washed-over by unexpected waves. Memory lane was a bit longer than anticipated as I found myself thinking about my trips up and down the beach searching for shells.

My goal was always to fill the brightly colored pail, or my bathing suit pocket, or my Mom's hands with a collection of colorful, beautiful, perfectly-shaped shells.  To make it into my collection they had to be worthy of an encyclopedia photograph! No imperfections, chipped edges, or faded color made the cut.

This trip, though, I found my attention drawn to a large chunk of a sand dollar and the curved remnant of a conch shell. Like all sea shells, these had already out-lived their usefulness to their original inhabitants before being violently being raked across the reef and dumped on shore. Yet, as I looked them over I saw beauty in brokenness and value in what had been discarded.  Memories help us cherish what once was and give us hope for what yet be.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Full Heart

"I am thanking you, God, from a full heart-" that is how The Message paraphrases Psalm 9:1 and it is my prayer this morning.

Our church's twenty-fifth anniversary celebration was a wonderful weekend of remembering and renewing, worship and fellowship, looking back and looking forward.  For those who served on our Anniversary Committee it was the culmination of over six months of planning and praying- and I think the results far exceeded our hopes and expectations.

Our choir and all those involved in our music ministry honored God and lifted our hearts in worship. I still can't decide on a "favorite" song from the service.  Our worship was enhanced by banners and pictures that acknowledged who we are and celebrated what God "is up to" among us. Each word spoken- from prayers to testimony to readings to sermon- communicated God's message for us both in what was said and who was speaking. Acted symbols speak powerfully.

Not all trips down memory lane are pleasant.  Sharing life- and church- together is always a mixture of hopes and fears, hurts and healing, "what happend's?" and "what-if's?" But as God's family we walk that sometimes bumpy road together and days like yesterday remind us of what God has done, help us to see what God is doing, and give us hope for what God still intends to do.  These days there seem to be many who are ready to give-up on the church... I don't think anyone there yesterday is ready to join them!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I wonder...

This Sunday we'll celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the beginning of Towne View Baptist Church.Ours was, in many ways, a typical baptist church start of it's day.  Noonday Baptist Association saw the need for a new church as Cobb County grew north and west, spurred by the recently developed Town Center at Cobb Mall.  Supportive churches were enlisted: First Baptist of Marietta in the early days; and First Baptist of Rome would serve as primary sponsor.  With support from the association and FBC-Rome key leaders were enlisted: a missions volunteer to provide support; a distinguished baptist minister to serve as interim pastor; a generous baptist layman offered wisdom and resources; volunteers canvassed neighborhoods, set-up chairs, and provided music.  And so, on the first Sunday of March in 1989 the Kennesaw Baptist Mission held its first service.

I wonder what those pioneers would think if they saw us worship last Sunday?  Only five are still around.

  • I would guess that they would have imagined a larger congregation by now.
  • Without knowing the whole story, they would probably be surprised that twenty-five years later we had progressed from meeting in a motel to meeting in a gym.
  • Being, for the most part baptist traditionalists, they would not been thrilled to see our use of screens for worship- back then only the charismatics used transparencies with overhead projectors
  • I think they would be surprised that in addition to our support of the traditional missions-support system our members are involved in numerous hands-on, personal ministry efforts 
  • I hope they would be pleased to hear a female Jamaican-born deacon lead in prayer and a teen-ager read scripture
  • I'm not sure that they would have foreseen that the Pakistani brother and sister who worshiped with us would have been greeted by church members from Kenya, Columbia, Korea, Romania, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, and Haiti  
  • Hopefully, they would find comfort in our singing, prayers, concern for those who grieve, welcome to a new baby, preaching of the Good News, and commitment to future service
The song says, "may those who come behind us find us faithful." I am grateful for the faithfulness of those who came before us and pray that future generations who share in anniversary services will feel the same.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Child's Prayer (at any age)

Watching the "wintry mix" fall outside my window I was taken to a phrase in a prayer we used to recite with the kids as they were growing-up:

Thank you Lord, for each new day you give to me,
for earth and sky and sand and sea.

For rainbows after springtime showers,
autumn leaves and summer flowers, 
winter snowscapes so serene,
harvest fields of gold and green.

Beauty shining all around,
lilac scent and robin sound.
Stars that twinkle high above,
and all the people that Iove.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I am watching, listening, sometimes feeling, even smelling the site work for our new facility this morning.  After weeks of rain it's been great to see progress again.

Our Building Committee continues diligently in their work.  The contractor is already pressing for decisions on paint, floor coverings, light fixtures, and bathroom accessories- and we don't even have a wall up, yet! These are the little things that will draw attention as people enter the new building.  This is what will be seen. We want all these small decisions to fit right, look right, feel right.

Yet, the most important work is being done now- moving dirt and preparing for the foundation.  At some point floors and walls and ceilings will draw attention upward and the dirt work will never be seen again.  But this un-seen work must be done first, and done well, or all that comes after will never be quite right.

I've stopped thinking about the building of a building now... I feel the need to give attention to the building of a life...