Sunday, September 5, 2010


This was a part of a recent sermon I preached:

You've probably heard of the ABCs of the gospel.
Admit. Believe. Confess.

I want to put forth a new look at this acrostic.

First, God is Awesome.

The word awesome has been misused on a regular basis since at least the ‘80s. It means truly demanding awe and wonder. My son Brennan recently really got what the word means. We were on our way to South Carolina to visit April’s aunt. As we took I-285 through Atlanta, planes were buzzing all across the sky. One huge plane was coming in right over us for a landing. All of the kids squealed. Then after it had passed, Brennan said, “That was awesome!” He paused for a second and said, “That was awesome and scary.”

That reminds me of what C.S. Lewis wrote about his character Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Mr. Beaver said about Aslan,Course he isn't safe. But he's good.”

Let's consider how good-- how awesome--the one True God is. Here are some of his characteristics:

  • He is eternal… he has always been. He knows no beginning and no end.

  • He is immutable… He does not change. He will not change.

  • He is omniscient. He knows all things.

  • He is omnipresent. He is all places at once. Time is not an issue for Him. He exists outside of the constraints of time.

  • He is omnipotent. He is all powerful.

  • He is just. He always does what is right.

  • He is holy—completely perfect.

  • He is righteous.

  • He is good – thoroughly and completely…in Him is no evil whatsoever.

  • He is sovereign.

Eph. 1: 19 tell us ..."That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet."

All that and…

He loves you and me and He desires to be a part of every moment of our lives. God is truly awesome.

But, We are Bankrupt!

We’ve got a problem. We have a sin problem. And a just and holy God will not entertain sin. What is sin? In 1 John 3:4, John says, “Sin is lawlessness.”

Have you ever broken a law? I was taking my in-laws to the airport in New Orleans a few months ago, and we got behind a street sweeper on I-10. My father-in-law pointed out that a sign said Minimum Speed 45. We were doing about 25, like everyone else. We were still guilty. We broke the law. Oh, for that to be the only law I’ve ever broken. What about the words we speak. What about gossip, jealousy, envy? What about pride and discontent? We have a sin problem.

Imagine if you will, God giving each of us a moral debit card when we are born. He gives us a set amount. The one big issue is that you can’t reload the card. When you sin, a debit is made. It wouldn’t take long for us to be bankrupt. In fact, it only takes one sin against the Holy God to make us morally bankrupt. Listen to what the prophet Isaiah wrote in Chapter 59:

1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.3 For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.4No one calls for justice;no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And in Romans 6:23 we find out that the wages of sin is death—that's spiritual separation from God, from all that is good. And again, there’s nothing we can do to reload the card. No number of good deeds can cover up the mess we have made. We’re bankrupt! And there are no federal bailouts.

So we’re in a fix. That sure sounds like bad news.

Thankfully the word gospel means good news…

The C stands for:


2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God has made a way for us. No sin is so small that you don’t need forgiveness. No sin is so big that Christ won’t forgive you. The price has been paid. God is extending his grace to you as a gift. A gift that not one of us could ever deserve. Will you turn from your sins and accept His gift of grace? Will you place your trust in what Christ has done for us?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Blessing

A few weeks ago, I checked a book out of my local library. When I got it home and opened it, I realized that someone had written a note in the front of it. Even if I had not read any of the book, reading the note would have made it worth lugging home. Here it is:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Turning the Ship (a book review)

Dustin Guidry has written a book that I could not put down. Turning the Ship tells the story of a journey that Ridgewood Church has faithfully embarked upon. Simply put, the journey has them moving from a man-made model of ministry to clinging to the supremacy of scripture for every directional and operational decision.
Dustin does a good job of sharing a brief background to the battle today’s church is facing. Prime among the embedded enemies of the church is the subtle workings of pragmatism. This is a powerful section of the book, as he lays bare the loss of distinction between the operations of the church and the rest of the world.
From there, the book is a back and forth between the significance of holding the Bible as the final word on matters of the church and the remarkable story of how God lead the staff and church to become broken-hearted over the program-driven church that they were and how God has brought about remarkable changes.
The most significant of the changes was the move from an age-segregated Sunday School to an age-integrated ministry. “But how do you do that?” I’m glad you asked! Read the book. Dustin has an entire chapter dedicated to the buts that most people present at the thought of moving toward age-integration.
Turning the Ship was a quick read. It has humor injected throughout. Most importantly, though, Dustin shares his heart in a way that both challenges and encourages the reader. Thank you, Dustin, for sharing your story!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A visit to the library

Do you remember when we checked out library books by signing the card in the back of the book?

Last night, we made a family trip to the public library. I picked up a book by one of my former professors, and without really thinking about it...I flipped to the back of the book to look for the card. As soon as I did that, I was reminded of a common practice of mine in elementary school. I was not much of a reader. In fact, I used to say that I hated it. When Mom would take my brother (who loved to read) and me to the library, he would gather stacks of Hardy Boys mysteries while I wandered around flipping to the back of random books. I would pull the card to see if anyone I knew had checked it out.

If I found a book that had been checked out by someone I knew and liked, I might ask to check the book out. It's doubtful that the book was ever read once I got home. I suppose I was a strange kid...and maybe still a bit peculiar (no comments, please).
Anyway, it's just interesting how even today, I remember names easily and make name associations quickly.

Oh, by the way, I've been reading like crazy...trying to make up for lost time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Family Prayer

This has become a daily, family prayer for us:

Lord, please give us...

minds that are hungry...
hearts that are tender...
hands that are ready...
words that build up...

and help us to extend compassion and mercy to others while speaking the truth.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


A couple of nights ago while eating a bowl of blueberries and yogurt, I was struck by a simple yet profound truth: God is so good to give us shapes!

Just think how boring life would be if there were only one or two shapes.
Enjoy His goodness!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Good Day at the Ballfield

My son had a good day yesterday! I took him to see his friends' baseball games in Baton Rouge. This was the first time to make it to one of their games, so B. was excited. (He loves playing ball in the yard, but before yesterday, he had not been to an organized game.)

When we arrived at the first game (B.'s own age group)... by the way, we were late thanks to my spending too much time with Mr. Weedeater... we discovered that his friend's team was short a couple of players. Before we knew what was going on, they were asking B. if he wanted to play. Wow! He grabbed a glove and headed to left field. The excitement didn't end there. He was even able to have an at-bat. He hit a hard shot right at the first baseman for a put-out. Thankfully he was able to run all of the bases anyway. That's what every 6-year-old dreams about.It was so much fun watching him enjoy the game. It looks like he'll be asking to play next year!
[picture above: B. (left) with his friend G.]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shannon O'Dell's Transforming Church in Rural America (Book Review)

Yesterday, I finished reading Transforming Church in Rural America by Shannon O'Dell. I must admit that before I started the book, I was skeptical. I had seen Shannon in a promo video for the church where he pastors (Brand New Church), and something about his intensity (and his hair) kinda freaked me out. I suppose I'm guilty of being superficial.

Anyway, the doubts are gone. This book may be one of the most encouraging reads for anyone who is passionate about being a part of a growing church in the sticks. Wait a minute! Is that possible? Yes, it is.

Shannon shares his story of being called from a large, suburban church with 70 staff to a rural church of 31 members. It's a fascinating ride as he shares dreams, struggles and adjustments that he had to make.

The biggest lesson I learned from his journey was the importance of calling and vision.

Grab a copy of this book and prepared to be encouraged and challenged!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where are they?

Last Sunday, I visited the church where I grew up. During the service, the church honored its graduates. The thing that struck me was that there were three little ones who had graduated from kindergarten standing up front holding a gift Bible, one college graduate holding her gift, and three "no-shows." The three high school graduates were not in attendance, and there was a sense of bewildered surprise by the adults that they were absent.

Lifeway Research conducted a careful study in 2007 of the issue and discovered that 70% of young adults (ages 23-30) dropped out of church for at least a year between the ages of 18-22. That 70% includes many who spent their teenage years as active members of their church youth group. The sharpest drop occurs between the ages of 17-19.

Sunday was a vivid picture of that reality.

Fast forward twelve years. Where will the three five-year-olds be on a particular Sunday morning in May, 2022?

What will make the difference?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Prepare for Bloody Toes!

A couple of days ago, I finished reading Jerry Bridges' latest book. Respectable Sins was a fairly slow read. One can only break so many toes at once. Bridges' voice and tone are much like having a casual coffee with a good friend. He acknowledges his own sin and presents the various topics with much grace. Nonetheless, he pulls back the logs of our everyday lives to expose the wormy underworld of the sins we so often tolerate in ourselves and those close to us.

The two big ideas for me in this book are as follows: First, a solid reminder that the gospel is not for lost people, but for sinners. Second, the primary sin that we put up with that holds the door for so many others is what Bridges refers to as ungodliness. Simply put, he means the sin of living our everyday lives as if God does not truly exist. From there, all manner of subtle wickedness takes hold in even the most churched among us.

If you're looking for a challenge, pick up a copy of this book and read slowly. Then, get ready for a dose of conviction.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Random Thoughts pt. 1

I have been noticing lately that I never see people in a gazebo. Is this some type of conspiracy? The next time you see a gazebo, pay attention... I bet it will be void of people.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Hidden Jewel

About a month ago, April and I had a brief get-away. It was much needed and much enjoyed... It simply did not last long enough. We found a wonderful b&b just outside of Hattiesburg, MS. We have stayed at several b&b's over the years, and we agree that this one (True Vine Cottage) is at least tied at the top of the list.

The cottage sits near a large pond, well off the beaten path. Between the birds, geese, and the wonderful flower gardens, there is plenty to enjoy from the porch swing. The screened porch in the back connects to a beautiful courtyard, complete with running fountain.

The furnishings inside the two-bedroom cottage are charming and elegant. Everything was very clean and welcoming. I highly recommend True Vine Cottage for any occasion. Here's the website:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Father-Daughter Picnic

Last Saturday, my daughters and I attended a Father-Daughter Picnic in Baton Rouge. We had a great time
together! As we sat listening to the guest speaker, I looked at each of my girls and
realized how each one is growing into a beautiful, young lady.

I am very proud of and thankful for my wonderfully inquisitive, silly, and sweet girls!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Created to...

I remember being amazed as a child the way the birds would arrive each year in late February or early March. The trees would stand bare against the grey skies with empty hands uplifted. Then, in an instant, the birds would come. I would hear the robins or crows-- whichever it happended to be that day-- and then watch as they settled, giving dark leaves to the stark oak trees.

I was reminded of this ritual a couple of weeks ago when I took two of the girls to choir practice. We stopped for a traffic light, and as we did, we were thrilled to see an amazing air show provided by a flock of birds. They truly astounded us with their complex patterns and their syncronicity. As the traffic light turned green and we pulled away, I began to think about how long it would take mankind to practice for such an air show. Even with weeks or months of practice with the best aircraft, the danger factor would be great. However, for the birds, this was spontaneous and without a single mishap.

Birds were created to fly. It's what they do. That day I experienced their expression of praise as they flew creatively and joyfully.

I think far too often we lose sight of what we were created to do. So here's the question: what were you created to do?