“Jesus loves you whether you like it or not!”

And the hits just keep on coming!? Saw this on a marquee in Springfield on a church that shall remain nameless to protect the (ahem) innocent.? Once again, true statement, but seriously I feel like I am talking to Taylor about eating his veggies!

Rolling Stones not rolling too well

stones.jpgMy fantasy team STINKS.? I am currently in the cellar in the league with perfect record of 0-3!? If I would have started some other guys that have played terrible the first two weeks, I would have rolled, but coulda shoulda woulda!

I lost in the championship game last year in this league by just a few points, but I am back to my old self these days.? The Rolling Stones might very well change their name back to the Ozark Bungles.? The name certainly suits them just fine!!

Fitness–Where’s the Oxygen?

My next door neighbor and I have decided we need to get into better shape, feel better during the day, etc.? We went on a little jog this morning at 5:30 a.m.!? I know, David at 5:30 a.m. is pretty crazy!? We started out real well, but we were huffing and puffing before too long.? We made it through and ran and walked for about 30 minutes.? I am pretty sore right now, but thankful that we are getting into shape.? (‘Course I don’t if it will ever be back in shape as I have never really ever been in shape.

Jesus is coming back, and boy is he mad!

Jesus is coming back, and boy is he mad!? Just saw this on a bumper sticker of a car. Could tell it was a “preacher” because of the personalized license plates stating it was said preacher. This statement was one side of the bookend with “Heaven or Hell: You decide” on the other bookend with a HUGE Skull & Crossbones saying “Sin Kills” in the middle. Seriously . . . if you have that on your car, what must you be like in person–in the pulpit!?! Unbelievable!!

And we wonder why people run around thinking that God is mad at them!? By the way, God is not mad at you!! He loves you more than anything! My biggest problem with this whole post is that God loves the creator as well as the “sticker-on-er” of the crazy bumper stickers as much as those He is supposedly “mad” at!!

Lord, help me to have as much grace for Christians who don’t believe and act in love as I do for those who are not believers. Lord, help the Church to become a relevant, gracious, loving people who are helping people find the truth, not drive them away with our quippy little bumper stickers.

A Great Pastor, A Great Man of God

Dr. T.T. Crabtree, my pastor growing up, passed away Tuesday night. He was one of my mentors and heroes of the faith. Much like the Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews, he has been one of those “great cloud of witnesses” for me as a young pastor. He always used to call me or introduce me to other pastors as “his son in the ministry.” I’m sure that he said that with most all young pastors, but for me, it really made me feel good that he invested so much in my ministry.

Every time I would go and see him, I would leave his home office with at least 2 boxes of books that he had picked out for me. He would take a really long time and great care to tell me who each author was–most of which were his “dear friends.” He was a brilliant man and scholar. He could have very easily taught at a seminary full time, but loved to pastor in the local church. He is the author of the Zondervan’s Pastor’s Annual. It is sermons from years past compiled to help other pastors, especially bi-vocational guys, preach good biblical sermons. They are basically sermon outlines with “a little meat still left on the bones,” as my preaching prof. Grant Lovejoy said Joel Gregory used to say.

He was my pastor. . . baptized me when I was 12, was at my wedding, was at my licensing, and was on my ordaining council. He was always very supportive and saw that I could be a pastor someday. He always said that I was going to be a great pastor . . . and I always used to say, “a great youth pastor.” He saw the future probably more than I did and was always giving me pastoral care and theology books while I was a student pastor because “it doesn’t matter what capacity you are serving, you still need to ‘rightly divide the Word of Truth.'”

I will charge everyone what he would always say to me (and probably every other pastor.) David, when Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep,” he didn’t mean to feed them warmed-over mutten three times a day!! Really feed them with the whole council of the the Word of God. Preach the Word. Preach the Word. (He always used to repeat important things twice for emphasis, like “Tennessee, Tennessee” when he would talk about his beloved Volunteers who won the big game on Saturday. Always with a flip of his wrist into a semi pointing gesture. If you knew him, you know what I’m talking about.)

I interviewed him when I was a senior at SMSU and did a paper in a gerontology class on how to “age well.” Those 4 or 5 hours changed my life. I got to really see the real Dr. Crabtree. How he loved his family and wife. How he loved serving God with his whole heart. How not to get so wrapped up in the church that you don’t minister to the most important people–your family. Many wonderful words of advice came from that interview and paper.

Thank you Dr. Crabtree for loving me and encouraging me to be the best pastor I can be! I hope to make you proud someday! Thank you for a life spent serving your Lord as an example for all around you to hope to come close to imitating. We will see you again soon!

The Day America Went to Church, Part 3

I don’t where I heard this, but I heard it was said that America indeed did go to church on 9/16/2001, but they looked around and found it was just as they left it and so never returned again.? Basically, Americans were coming back to church for answers and got some answers–just not to the questions they were asking.? I know Barna did some research and found that church attendance grew a little bit the months following 9-11, but went back to it’s “normal” trend of decline the subsequent years following the tragedy.

So who’s fault is it? Read more

The Day America Went to Church, Part 2

I remember that week very well.? It seemed that everyone spent hour upon hour watching the tragedy.? Praying that people would be found.? Praying for those who hadn’t heard from loved ones.? Watching the dedication and honor of the rescue workers.? I can remember one of my first statements in my sermon on 9.16.2007.? I said that I feel totally exhausted from watching the horror over and over.? It was amazing that we would stay up until the early hours in the morning just shocked with the pictures and video.

I remember using Isaiah 25 as the text of my message.? An unbelievably powerful message of restoration and hope.? Here are some excerpts: Read more

Monday Morning Reflections

kidstuf916.jpgWe had an awesome Sunday yesterday as we had our first KidStuf! It went really well and I think it did all that we wanted it to do and more! We really just wanted it to be a “promo” for our church family to see first hand what it was about and invite people to the next KidStuf. We had a really great crowd about 120 people in the sanctuary, not including those in the nursery! We were talking this morning, I think we are going to have some space issues on October 7th!! What a great problem to have!

All of the actors, hosts, dancers, singers, and kids did an awesome job! I can’t be more proud of the production!!

  • The set looked awesome! Margaret Dollarhite did an excellent job cutting and sewing yards and yards of black fabric for the curtain!!
  • Patrick Chandler and Jim Price helped us frame in the door! Great job guys!
  • Eric and Kris did an awesome job in hanging the curtain and signs.
  • Josh Harrold did a great job running the computer. He came for the tech rehearsal on Thursday night to “watch” and learn for next time! But because of some schedule problems, he needed to do it on Sunday morning!! He did an awesome job in such a short amount of time. The learning curve is quite steep on that stuff and he did a great job.
  • The drama was excellent!! Chris Jones, Mark Wofford, and Kalynn McMurray did their best presentation yet! I was so proud of them!
  • Chris Hatley has grown so much in the past 3-4 years since they have been here at CFC! I was teary when Kenzie was so proud of her daddy! Chris, you did such a great job teaching us the Bible!! Awesome!!
  • Jenny had the singers ready to go–Great job Wes, Jill, Becky, and Jenny. It sounded like the background vocals on a professional CD! I got “ants in my pants” just thinking about it!!
  • Kim Scott and the dancers have worked so hard and it showed! The routines were awesome!! Great job Schawo, Eric, Tracy, Tabby, and Katy (and Wes on one song).
  • It is always great to see people laughing and enjoying being at church of all places. I know that God smiles when His people are telling others about His Son–and having a great time in the process!

A huge thanks to EVERYONE who had a part in making this first KidStuf a HUGE success! I know I am forgetting some people, but I am so proud of EVERYONE! You will want to see next month’s production–it is going to be “off the hook” as the kids say!

One tease . . . Gordo returns to make his actual KidStuf debute! Get your pocket protectors ready and invite your friends and family to the next KidStuf, October 7th!

The Day America Went to Church

I was reminded of the 9-11 tragedy again last night as MSNBC had the day “as it happened.” I can still remember sitting with Jenny and Taylor (about 5 months old) in the living room before leaving for church. At the time I left for church, the towers had not yet collapsed.

I remember that event quite well because it matches up with my calling to plant this church. We had been struggling with a calling to start a new church that would be focused on those outside of the church–not necessarily ignoring those inside the church, but basically reaching those who don’t have a “place” in the current church landscape. Read more

About 15 seconds of the Tour of Missouri

Taylor and I got to see just a brief bit of the finish of the Tour of Missouri yesterday. Ibilde-1.jpg taylortourofmo.jpgpicked up Taylor after school and we rushed downtown to the Shrine Mosque to see the finish. I took us way too long to find a parking spot, so we missed the first “pack” and saw the second “pack” from about 100 yards away as a blur of color and motion. It was there and then it was gone in a moment!!? We saw a few stragglers up close and went around and saw all of the teams as they were back at the vehicles. Quite a sight indeed. They made it from Clinton, MO, about 120 miles in about 4 1/2 hours!! It takes taylorlookingon.jpgabout 2 hours to make that trip at highway speeds!! They were traveling about 40 MPH when they “blurred” past us at the finish. Here is a friend of Natalie Nance’s dad’s blog, who has some great pictures of the finish.? Take some time to read the entire post–especially the last paragraph.? Taylor and I saw some guys coming out of the medical tent all banged up–don’t know if it was the armadillo or not that caused their bandages!!

I’m glad we did it and can add it to the list of things we’ve done as a father and son. I think the Tour is coming again for the next 3 years or so, but will probably not be down here next year for sure as they are going to focus on the northern part of the state (north of I-70).? They are having the time trials in Branson today–the race will probably be won or lost today in that 18 miles experts say.